MS Dhoni Biography: “Dhoni finishes off in style. A magnificent strike into the crowd. India lift the World Cup after 28 years. The party’s started in the dressing room. And it’s an Indian captain, who’s been absolutely magnificent, in the night of the final.” These immortal words are etched into the memory of every Indian cricket fan forever. The legendary commentary forged in the words of Ravi Shastri, gives us but a glimpse of the place of Dhoni in the imagination of Indian public, and how high a pedestal he’s been given by the masses.
Born in Ranchi, part of erstwhile Bihar and now in Jharkhand, on 7th of July 1981, Dhoni was the son of Pan Singh, a junior manager in MECON and Devaki Devi. He has a sister Jayanti Gupta and a brother Narendra Singh Dhoni. Being athletic from a young age, he forayed into sports as a goalkeeper. However, one of his physical education teachers at school identified the possibilities in him as a wicketkeeper and pursued him to change the course of his career. And as we all know, the rest his history.
He started taking cricket seriously, and soon whispers started to flutter in the cricketing circles about a boy with an unorthodox technique subduing bowlers at will. In order to move to the next level, he started to work for the Indian Railways as a ticket collector, and joined the Railways Ranji team. It was here that he truly began to shine on a professional level, dishing out match-winning performances almost at will. His performances impressed the BCCI scouts enough, and he was included into the India A team for a tour to Kenya in 2004.
Solid knocks in alien conditions in Kenya furthered his cause and he was selected for the tour of Bangladesh in 2004. However, a duck in his first ever ODI followed by consecutive poor performances almost had him out of favour with the selectors. The then captain Sourav Ganguly, reposed his trust in Dhoni’s talents and gave him chance after chance to prove himself. Dhoni repaid the trust with ODI innings of 148 and 183 within a year of his debut, making him a sensation all over india. His leadership skills also didn’t go unnoticed as he was appointed the captain of the T20 team. Success followed as India won the first ever T20 World Cup. ODI captaincy followed, within a year of which he was also made the Test captain.
Success followed him like the boon followed Midas with whatever he touched turning into gold. Dhoni has been the recipient of many awards, including the ICC ODI Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009 (the first player to win the award twice), the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2007, the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour, in 2009 and the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour, in 2018. He was named as the captain of the ICC World Test XI in 2009, 2010 and 2013. He has also been selected a record 8 times in ICC World ODI XI teams, 5 times as captain. Dhoni also holds numerous captaincy records such as the most wins by an Indian captain in Tests, ODIs and T20Is, and most back-to-back wins by an Indian captain in ODIs. Under his captaincy, India won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the CB Series of 2007–08, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, 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 handing India the victory for which he was awarded the Man of the Match. In June 2013, when India defeated England in the final of the Champions Trophy in England, Dhoni became the first captain to win all three ICC limited-overs trophies (World Cup, Champions Trophy and the World Twenty20). After taking up the Test captaincy in 2008, he led the team to series wins in New Zealand and West Indies, and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008, 2010 and 2013. In 2009, Dhoni also led the Indian team to number one position for the first time in the ICC Test rankings. In 2013, under his captaincy, India became the first team in more than 40 years to whitewash Australia in a Test series. In the Indian Premier League, he captained the Chennai Super Kings to victory at the 2010, 2011 and 2018 seasons
In 2011, Time magazine included Dhoni in its annual Time 100 list as one of the “Most Influential People in the World.” In 2012, SportsPro rated Dhoni as the sixteenth most marketable athlete in the world. In June 2015, Forbes ranked Dhoni at 23rd in the list of highest paid athletes in the world, estimating his earnings at US $31 million.In 2016, a biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story was made about him.
On the personal front of his life, Dhoni is married to Sakshi Rawat. Although both Sakshi and Mahendra Singh Dhoni knew each other since childhood, they did not fall in love till they grew up. Dhoni and Sakshi’s father worked in the same company, MECON, in Ranchi. Both their families shared a cordial relationship, and the young buds went to the same school in Ranchi. And, before cupid could roll out its arrows, Sakshi’s family got shifted to Dehradun, where her grandfather was already staying, and the two of them became out of touch. However, destiny has something else in mind and the couple finally met after a gap of almost a decade, miles away from their home, in the ‘City of Joy’, Kolkata. Dhoni and Sakshi incidentally met each other at the Taj Bengal, during Team India’s stay in November-December, 2007. At that time, India was playing against Pakistan at the Eden Gardens. Sakshi Rawat, who was an intern working at Taj Bengal was introduced to MS Dhoni, by his manager, Yudhajit Dutta. Sakshi was friends with Yudhajit. It was as if they were fated to be together because that day was the last working day of Sakshi’s internship at the hotel. When Sakshi left, Dhoni asked Dutta for her number and texted her.
They started contacting each other via texts and calls and finally started dating in March 2008. Sakshi even attended Dhoni’s birthday bash that same year. The wooing continued on from Dhoni’s part for two years before Sakshi finally accepted his marriage proposal.
The couple got married on July 4, 2010 in a secretive manner, away from the eyes of the paparazzi. Many of Dhoni’s friends from sports, politics and film fraternity attended the wedding and blessed the couple.
No one knew much about Sakshi Rawat before she tied the knot to India’s most eligible bachelor. For her wedding day, she picked a red and green Sabyasachi lehenga, like a regular customer. It was only after the information was provided by the salesgirl that Sabya got to know about his special client.
The ring ceremony was held at Hotel Competant in Dehradun, on Saturday, July 3, 2010. And, the wedding ceremony was held next day, that is, Sunday, July 4, at Vishranti Resort, near Dehradun. The event was graced with the presence of Bollywood actors like John Abraham, director, Farah Khan, Dhoni’s teammates, Suresh Raina, RP Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra, and Indian politicians, Sharad Pawar, Vasundhara Raje and others.
It is believed that Dhoni’s performance as a player got better post his marriage to Sakshi. Although, Sakshi loves cheering her husband from the stands, she prefers to stay away from the media. Even for Dhoni, it is good that Sakshi is not too much in the limelight because as a cricketer, he wants to focus on his career first. He said in an interview that country comes first for him, followed by his parents and then by his wife. However, Sakshi has proved to be a lucky charm for him, having been there with him in World Cup and IPL triumphs.
The couple were blessed with their first baby when Sakshi gave birth to Ziva Dhoni, in February 2015, when the captain was in Australia to play the World Cup.
Thus, we see that Dhoni is living out the ideal life, playing for his nation and having a loving family. Also, Dhoni is among one of the best captains to have guided India throughout the years. Very few people can argue with that