M.S. Dhoni: A Leader, A Hero

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“Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

As India annihilated Bangladesh in the second quarter final of the ICC cricket World Cup 2015, and authoritatively stormed into the semi-finals, Dhoni had his own little feat to cherish, too. The stunning victory also happened to be Dhoni’s 100th ODI victory as the team captain. While Dhoni announced his retirement from test cricket in 2014, passing the baton, thus, to Virat Kohli, he has many such feats to achieve in his ODI and T-20 career, which we believe is far from over.

Baby Mahendra Singh Dhoni was born in a Rajput family to Pan Singh and Devaki Devi, in the city of Ranchi on July 7, 1981. What very few know about this Ranchi lad is that initially he excelled in the games of badminton and football. He even played these games at district and club level. He was, in fact, sent to play cricket for a local cricket club by his football coach! Based on his performance at club cricket, he was picked for the 1997/98 season Vinoo Mankad Trophy Under-16 Championship where he performed remarkably well. From here on Dhoni focused solely on cricket.

An 18-year-old Dhoni made an assertive Ranji Trophy debut for Bihar in 1999-2000 season, smashing a half-century in his very first match. However, it was not before 2003 that the man who would go on to build a cricket empire for himself, was discovered by the BCCI. It was against Bangladesh itself in 2004 that Dhoni made his ODI debut. Albeit he may have seemed to be a promising player, he hardly was an over-night star, for he got run-out for a duck in his very first match.

As early as 2005, Dhoni had made a mark for himself in international cricket. He scored 183 runs off just 145 balls against Sri Lanka in Jaipur, thereby making the record of the highest runs scored by any batsman in the second innings.

Dhoni was finally crowned as the team’s captain in the ODI format in 2007, and almost immediately began leading the team to historic victories. That Dhoni is the only captain to have won all three major ICC trophies, should come as a surprise to few. Under his captaincy, India won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the CB Series of 2007–08, the 2010 Asia Cup, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. In the final of the 2011 World Cup, Dhoni scored 91 not out off 79 balls to take India to victory for which he was awarded the Man of the Match.

Moreover, he holds numerous captaincy records such as most wins by an Indian captain in Tests and ODIs, and most back-to-back wins by an Indian captain in ODIs. He has also proved to be an invincible IPL captain for the Chennai Super Kings, for they are the only other team apart from Kolkata Knight Riders to win the IPL twice.

 In 2010, Dhoni broke the hearts of a million young girls when he married childhood sweetheart, Sakshi Dhoni. The wedding came as a surprise to the fans, as well as the media, for it took place just a day after their engagement. Sources close to the couple later said that the wedding had been planned for months, and was not a hasty affair, as many were speculating.

Dhoni, while a focused cricketer, is also quite the fashion freak! He is known to frequently experiment with his hairstyles and endorses over 15 brands from clothes to cold drinks.

All the flamboyance aside, Dhoni is also an extremely responsible citizen, for in a country in which most men with power seek to subvert the system to evade taxes, Dhoni has consistently been the highest individual income taxpayer in Jharkhand and one of the highest in India.

To me, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is truly an inspirational captain. In his eight years of captaincy, he has hardly been seen lose his temper or calm. While he leads, and leads to win, he remains calm as the sea. Here’s hoping that Dhoni goes on to make history yet again by leading Team India to two consecutive World Cup victories!

Sanya Dhingra

Image Source: The Viewspaper