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Dhoni@39: 14 things you didn't know

July 07, 2020 06:42 IST
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From TC to Cricket Legend, what an incredible journey Mahi has had!

MS Dhoni

Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has given India countless memories to savour on the cricketing field.

He has been the 'Captain Cool' of Indian cricket; a display of emotions is not something that one associates with Mahi.

Dhoni has turned out for the country in 350 ODIs, 90 Tests and 98 T20 Internationals while effecting a staggering 829 dismissals behind the stumps.

Dhoni, who led India to triumph at the 2011 ODI World Cup, 2007 T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy, celebrates his 39th brthday on Tuesday.

On this special day, 14 facts you may not have known about this incomparable cricketer"

MS Dhoni

IMAGE: South Eastern Railway had a very special passenger when former employee Mahendra Singh Dhoni preferred to travel by train with the Jharkhand team from Ranchi to Howrah to participate in the Vijay Hazare Trophy in 2017 instead of taking a flight. Photograph: MS Dhoni/Instagram

1. Even after he made his Ranji Trophy debut at the age of 18 in 2000, he was employed as a ticket collector at the Kharagpur railway station in West Bengal between 2001 and 2003.

2. Dhoni was recommended as Team India's skipper by Sachin Tendulkar.

Rahul Dravid had stepped down as captain after the 2007 World Cup debacle where India was knocked out in the first round.

The new skipper had a dream start, winning the inaugural ICC T20 World Cup in South Africa.

MS Dhoni

IMAGE: Dhoni with the 2011 ODI World Cup at the Gateway of India. Photograph: Ritam Banerjee/Getty Images

3. The swashbuckler has scored nine ODI centuries and two of those tons came from batting at No 7.

The most by any captain who has played at the lower-order position.

4. Dhoni has won most T20I games as captain.

He captained India in 70 T20I matches and his team won 41 of them.

5. Dhoni captained India when the team rose to the No 1 spot in the Test rankings for the first time in 2009.

Dhoni was also the most successful Indian captain with 27 Test wins, eclipsing the legendary Sourav Ganguly's 21 victories.

MS Dhoni

Photograph: BCCI/Twitter

6. Dhoni played badminton and football and was selected to represent district and club in both sports in Jharkhand where his Uttarakhand native parents had settled down.

His reflexes as wicket-keeper are still arguably the best in the business and that can be attributed to the fact that he started out as a goal-keeper in football.

It wasn't until he was in Class 10 that Mahi decided to focus on cricket.

Mahi remains an avid soccer fan and is a co-owner -- along with Abhishek Bachchan and Vita Dani -- of Chennaiyin FC, the football team who participates in the Indian Super League.

7. Dhoni is also a huge WWE fan. His favourite wrestlers are Bret the 'Hitman' Hart and Hulk Hogan.

8. Dhoni loves old Hindi movie melodies. His favourite singer is Kishore Kumar, a fondness he shares with Virender Sehwag (who sang Kishore Kumar songs when batting!)

MS Dhoni

IMAGE: The regimental dagger insignia of the Para forces visible on Dhoni's wicket-keeping gloves during a World Cup game in England last year. Photograph: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

9. An honourary lieutenant colonel in the Parachute Regiment -- India's Special Forces -- Mahi's wicket-keeping gloves in the first two games at last year's World Cup had a military touch.

Army green and navy blue with the Para regimaental dagger insignia clearly visible.

After the gloves kicked up a ruckus, the ICC forced Dhoni to settle for something more conventional.

10. The sight of him taking off his gloves and bowling in the Lord's Test in 2011, even before lunch, angered another World Cup-winning captain, the mighty Kapil Dev.

Where would another 'keeper remove pads and gloves and roll his arm over when the game was at a competitive stage?

11. Dhoni was the most expensive signing at the first IPL players auction, contracted by the Chennai Super Kings for $1.5 million.

12. On his ODI debut, Dhoni scored a duck against Bangladesh, out run out.

MS Dhoni

IMAGE: Dhoni poses with one of his many motorcycles. Photograph: Mahendra Singh Dhoni/Twitter

13. His motorcycle obsession is well-known. The X132 Hellcat is one of the many bikes in Dhoni's collection.

He also owns a team -- the MSD R-N Racing Team India -- in the FIM Supersport World Championship. It was later named Mahi Racing Team India; Telugu movie star Nagarjuna is an investor in the team.

14. Dhoni made the helicopter shot a trademark of his ODI batting. He was taught the shot by a close friend, Jharkhand cricketer Santosh Lal.

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