Mahendra Singh Dhoni or Mahi is an inspiration for the young generation. He once said, “My goal is not to be better than anyone else, but to be better than I used to be.” This quote inspired me in many ways. It is like a lesson for all of us. We also know him from other names like ‘Mahi’, ‘Captain Cool’ or ‘MSD’.
In the world of cricket, he is always remembered as a great wicketkeeper batsman and top captain. For me, he was the only reason I started watching cricket. He donned long hair which has been my favourite look ever since. I also try to become as calm as he is on and off the field. More often, I try to be like him and calm in every situation.
In my blurry memories, I remember a match which has never really left my mind. The match was the T20 World Cup final. A young man with long hair led the team. I remembered when the captain called Joginder Sharma for the last over. My father said we would lose the match but he was wrong and his decision surprised everyone. The Indian team was able to lift the trophy in the first ever T20 World Cup.
From there, he kept surprising all cricket lovers time and again. If we talk about the 2011 ODI World Cup, he promoted himself before Yuvraj Singh and the rest is history. After a long gap of 28 years, India won the World Cup and Mahi's winning six became everyone’s favourite moment. Cricket fans often say that Mahi can never go wrong and he has proved it time and again. The Decision Review System is often called the "Dhoni Review System" by the fans. That happened because of Mahi's impeccable judgement of the situation. Whenever he has opted for DRS, he has been correct more often than not. Behind the stumps, he has always played an important role for his team.
Dhoni's style of wicket keeping and batting inspired many people. His blind throw, helicopter shot, and lightning stumping always mesmerised viewers and cricketers alike. Mahi has always helped the bowlers from behind the stumps. He would often advise bowlers seeing the batsmen from close. I remember a T20 semi-final match where Bangladesh needed 2 runs in 1 ball to win and Hardik Pandya was bowling. It was a dot ball. The ball was in Mahi’s hand. In Mahi's style, he took the wicket, and won the match by just 1 run.
I remember I was in Class 9 when I decided to pursue cricket as a profession. Due to personal reasons, I had to give up on this dream. I have always wanted to meet Mahi, or better take his interview. It would be wrong if I said I am the biggest fan of Dhoni but I am a fan who has always learned from his work and his personality. When Dhoni played and started cutting loose, his helated fans would say, “Mahi maar raha hai.” They would also say, “Dhoni sambhal lega", in tricky situations.
Dhoni is also widely popular as Thala, which means head or leader in Tamil. I wanted to see him play in real life but I never got the opportunity. There were many issues in my family and I was not able to tell my parents that I want to go watch a match. If someone asks me why I love Dhoni, I'd reply that there is no reason to stop loving him. I have never met him but for me, his life is an inspiration.
Dhoni transitioned from football lover to a cricketer. After great performances in domestic cricket, he got recruited as a Ticket Collector with the Indian Railways at a very young age. Despite a government job, he decided to follow his passion because he believed in himself. Now, he is one of the greatest players in the history of cricket.
Dhoni is the only captain who made India victorious in all three major ICC trophies. Under his captaincy, India held numero uno position in the Test rankings for 18 months. Mahi is the only non-Australian captain who has led his team for more than 100 matches and the third captain to have won 100 matches. He is the fourth fastest batsman who has completed 8,000 runs. In 2008 and 2009, he was awarded the ICC player of the year trophy. Under Mahi's captaincy, India was named as the ICC team of the year in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
Dhoni is not only a cricketer, he is also a Lieutenant Colonel. He holds the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army. After the 2019 World Cup semi-final loss, he trained with the Parachute Regiment for more than a month.
My childhood days were spent watching cricket with Mahi as India captain. His decision to retire from international cricket shocked everyone. It felt like a prank. After 2019 World Cup, his fans waited with bated breath for him to play. But on August 15, 2020, he declared his retirement from international cricket with a very beautiful song, “Mai pal do pal ka shayar hoon.”
CitySpidey wishes this inspirational Ranchi boy a very happy birthday!