MS Dhoni's Magnificient Sublime Dominance: Happy Birthday legend
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the former Indian captain and the only captain in the history of the gentleman's game to win three ICC Trophies turns 41 today. One of the all-time greats and one of the most iconic cricketers of all time, the former wicketkeeper-batsman was born on July 7, 1981, in Ranchi, Jharkhand.
"You don't play for the crowd, you play for the country", says MS Dhoni which reflects his perspective on the game and how much the blue Indian jersey meant to him. An avid soccer fan, MSD was a goalkeeper for his school team before his love affair with the wicketkeeping gloves began. The CSK (Chennai Super Kings) stalwart in his long and legendary stint with the Indian cricket team redefined how to finish the game and chase down targets when the odds were against him.
The long-haired guy from Ranchi while playing domestic cricket was overlooked by the Indian selectors for his unorthodox style of wicketkeeping and batting. Ironically, when Dhoni retired, he finished as one of the best wicketkeepers the game has ever seen or produced. Very early on during his Ranji Trophy days for Indian Railways, Dhoni earned himself a reputation for hitting gigantic sixes and taking on bowlers in any condition under any given circumstances.
Former Indian skipper and now the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Sourav Ganguly went on to say that India would have not lost the 2003 ICC World Cup if he had someone like Mahendra Singh Dhoni in his team. Ganguly had his keen eyes on the wicketkeeper batsman and he had no second thought about the batting prowess that MS had. In the iconic Vizag ODI, Ganguly gave his number 3 spot to MS Dhoni who later went on to score 148 runs from 123 balls, taking India's total to 356/9 in the allotted fifty overs. He had announced himself on the big stage and that too was against India's arch rival Pakistan.
A few years down the line when Dhoni had established himself as India's finisher, India had a horrendous 2007 world Cup and they crashed out of it after they were beaten in 2 league matches out of 3. India was looking for a revival and that is when the BCCI decided to announce MS Dhoni as India's captain for the ICC T20I World Cup played in South Africa. With the seniors opting out of the shortest format of the game, MS Dhoni led his troops to a World Cup victory and cemented his place as the leader of the future.
India's T20I World Cup victory paved way for the Indian Premier League and this is when, MS Dhoni was picked up by Chennai Super Kings, the association which is now legendary in more than many ways. As of today Chennai Super Kings have won 4 IPL trophies and are just behind Mumbai Indians who have 5 titles to their name.
Though India had won a 20 over World Cup, the country was still expecting India to win the greatest prize, the 50 over World Cup. In 2011, with the World Cup being played in India, the men in blue dominated the entire tournament and went on to lift the greatest prize in the game of cricket. Stamping his authority on world cricket, Dhoni struck a mammoth six over long on, a moment that will forever stay with Ravi Shastri's legendary voice which said
"Dhoni finishes off in style, a magnificent strike into the crowd, India lift the World Cup after 28 years and it is an Indian captain who has been absolutely magnificent in the night of the finals"
After the 2007 and 2011 World Cups, captain Dhoni had his eyes set on the 2013 Champions Trophy. With the legend of the game retiring, MS Dhoni had a job on his hands to lead a young Indian side to victory. The man with the Midas Touch, MS, promoted Rohit Sharma as an opening batsman and the rest as they said is history. India defeated England and the final and MS Dhoni became the only captain in the history of the game to win 3 ICC trophies.
Dhoni bowed out of Test cricket in 2014 and later stepped out of international duties after India was eliminated from the 2019 ICC World Cup. They say life comes full circle, a legendary career that started with a run-out, ended with a run-out as the world stood up and applauded the genius of jersey no. 7 .