Nicknamed, ‘Mahi’, Mahendra Singh Dohni won everybody’s heart with his catches, hard hitting batting style and his long stylish hair, adding to his personality as a wicket keeper. He became a sensation of the Indian team suddenly and many youngsters started following his hairstyle. His rise as a cricketer from the eastern part of India is tremendous and has given hope to hard working budding cricketers.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, aged 26, was born on 7th July 1981 in Almora, Uttaranchal and later moved to Ranchi with his parents. He studied at DAV Jawahar Vidhya Mandhir played badminton and football excellently. He was the goal keeper of the football team, but was sent to play cricket for a local club by his football coach. Because of his wicket keeping skills he became a regular member in the club games and played for them from 1995 -1998.
Based on his performance he was picked for the Vinod Mankad Trophy under the sixteen category and his cricketing carrier began then. After finishing his 10th standard he completely focused on cricket and practiced more. He played junior cricket for a while and got selected for his first Ranji trophy match in 1999, for Bihar. He played different matches but recognition came for his lower – order run contribution and hard – hitting batting style in 2002-03 season. He next played for the east zone too during this time was picked for Indian A squad in 2003-04, one day international season. He got recognition and appreciation for his efforts- best wicket keeping for seven catches and four stumping. He even scored centuries and caught the attention of many after he was selected in the ODI team for Bangladesh tour in December 2004 where he performed on an average. The actual memorable moment came during the ODI against Pakistan. He scored 148 runs of 123 balls and made a new record by Indian wicket keeper, for the highest score. His score of 183 of 145 balls against Srilanka resulted in India’s win. He ended the series with highest runs aggregate (346 runs) and was awarded the man of the series. In 2005 December he made his test debut. Another milestone in his carrier is his ODI performance in 2006 against Pakistan- he saved India, scoring 72 runs of just 46 balls, including 13 boundaries helping the team take a lead of 2-1. Again he scored 77 runs of 56 balls contributing to India’s win in the series. His consistent and good performance in ODI enabled him to overtake Ricky Pointing as number one, in the ODI ranking on April 20, 2006.
His wonderful performance and his interpersonal relation or interaction with teammates, led to him being elected as the captain of India 20-20 cricket team at such a young age. His game and maturity as an individual is highly respected by senior players like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. Dhoni led the 20-20 team in September 20-20 World cup and brought laurels for the country. On September 2″ 2007, he equaled Adam Gilchrist’s record for the most dismissals in an inning in ODI by taking 5 catches and stumping one. Under his captaincy, India won the ICC World 20-20 trophy, in the final against Pakistan in South Africa on 24th September 2007.He is the second Indian captain after Kapil dev to have brought world cup and made India proud. He has won 6 Man of the match awards and 2 Man of the series awards so far.
Dhoni, a sportsperson of humble nature had Sachin as his idol during his past days and today he himself has become an idol for upcoming cricketers. He has endorsed many products and he is popular with children. As captain he has been appreciated for his cool temperament, mature way of handling things and leadership qualities.
In such a short span of time Dhoni has achieved many things and is inspiring many from the interior regions of India who want to excel in sports.