- 'When we were growing up we used to watch Sachin; he was like God to all of us. He had that aura around him.'
- 'Keep supporting us. We have a good side, we have a good team.'
Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India's most successful cricket captain, made a rare public appearance in the US, attending a puja at the Siddhivinayak Temple in Toms Rover. Paresh Gandhi/Rediff.com provides a glimpse of his visit.
Describing Sachin Tendulkar as his role model, India One-Day International captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the iconic batsman's humility and passion for the game is an inspiration for him and others.
"When we were growing up we used to watch Sachin (Tendulkar); he was like God to all of us. He had that aura around him," Dhoni said, while interacting with Indian diaspora during a reception organised in his honour by the Bihar-Jharkhand Association of North America, in New Jersey.
Dhoni said Tendulkar is a "very good role model" since he's both successful and humble.
When he started playing cricket, he said, he saw how Tendulkar "believed in the process".
"Every time he turned on the field he wanted to improve as a cricketer. I felt he was an ideal person to look up to and that is what we did," said Dhoni, in a brief video of the event posted on web portal American Bazaar.
On Sunday, Dhoni, accompanied by wife Sakshi and former Deputy Chief Minister of Jharkhand, Sudesh Kumar Mahto, made a rare public appearance in the United States and performed puja at the Siddhivinayak Temple, in Toms Rover, which is under construction, and will open to the public later this year.
Dressed casually in jeans and T-shirt, he interacted briefly with a gathering of around 150 local residents, who cheered their cricket hero and jostled to take selfies with him.
Interacting with the Indian diaspora, Dhoni urged them them to keep supporting Team India, which he said is going through a lot of changes and is a "good team".
"Keep supporting us. We have a good side, we have a good team. We are in a phase where we are going through a lot of changes, but with all due support of yours we will keep doing well," Dhoni had said.
Asked when he will return to the cricket field, Dhoni said October is the "earliest you will see me on the field".
On the 2011 World Cup triumph, he said it was "really big not only for the team, but for the entire country."
Asked how he defines success, he said it is very important to be "practical and honest" in life.
"One of the most difficult things to control is a man's greed. There is no upper limit to greed. But, at the same time, we should practically set a standard as to this is what I want to achieve," he said, adding that even though he is a "decent cricketer" he cannot hope to become 'Usain Bolt', the fastest person in the world.
"Being practical in life and honest in life (is crucial).
"What is important is what you are doing today and tomorrow, because those small steps will in turn help you achieve in life what you want to become. Small things matter more than the bigger goal. While it is very important to dream, it is also important to be in the present," said Dhoni.
The Edison Council of the Township of Edison also felicitated Dhoni with a 'resolution' at a private ceremony in New Jersey's Toms River city.
Edison Cricket Club president Atul Huckoo presented Dhoni the resolution, which honours him for being "one of the greatest finishers in limited-overs' cricket'.
The resolution noted Dhoni's accomplishments in cricket, beginning from his debut in 2004 to leading the country to spectacular victories in crucial tournaments like the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
"By virtue of his leadership skills, outstanding conduct and character, humility and aversion to seeking publicity off the field, Dhoni has become an inspiration to children of all ages around the world, including South Asian children in New Jersey…," the resolution said.
"The Municipal Council of the Township of Edison recognizes, commends and congratulates Mahendra Singh Dhoni for his overall athletic excellence in the field of limited-overs' cricket and for his inspiration and outstanding character both on and off the field," it added.
It also noted that Edison has become Dhoni's "hide-away" and "home away from home" during the off-season.
It said South Asian parents in Edison are "delighted" to see Dhoni's "leadership attributes and humility" reflected in their own children, "making them better citizens of the world".