From ticket collector to a global star, the story behind MS Dhoni’s rise in international cricket is one for the ages. The ‘Dhoni’ era in Indian cricket began when the Ranchi-born wicket-keeper/batsman made his international debut against Bangladesh on December 23, 2004. Ever since his call-up to the international stage, Dhoni has registered his name in various record books and has decorated Indian cricket’s trophy cabinet with some of the game’s biggest prizes. In his first captaincy stint itself, MSD led a young group of Indian players to a historic T20 World Cup victory in the inaugural edition of ICC World T20 Championship 2007 in South Africa.
MS Dhoni was born in Ranchi in 1981. Growing up, he idolised the Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and singer Lata Mangeshkar. Dhoni began to show his sporting excellence in football and badminton. He used to keep for his football team but was advised by his football coach to start playing cricket instead. After playing club cricket for a few years, the wicket-keeper/batsman was selected for the Central Coal Fields Limited in 1998 by Deval Sahay. His impressive performances with the bat got him a call-up to Bihar’s Ranji team. He continued playing for Bihar in the Ranji Trophy and was soon selected to play for India A before finally getting a call to represent the Indian national side.
MS Dhoni made his debut against Bangladesh and only in his fifth game, the right-handed swashbuckling batsman scored a cracking 148 off 123 balls against Pakistan. After India’s disastrous 2007 World Cup campaign in West Indies, questions were raised about Dhoni’s role in the playing XI. However, the moment that changed Indian cricket forever, came later in the year when MSD was appointed as the captain of the Indian side. Against all odds, team India went on to win the inaugural T20 championship and Dhoni followed up the victory with memorable series wins in Australia and New Zealand.
Under Dhoni’s leadership and riding on his spirited 91* in the final, India lifted the 2011 Cricket World Cup after 28 years. Two years later, ‘captain cool’ added another trophy to his cabinet by winning the ICC Champions Trophy 2013. By winning the ODI tournament in England, Dhoni thus became the first international captain to collect all three ICC trophies. Now since the 2019 World Cup has come to an end, Dhoni critics have once again started raising questions about his retirement by singling him out for India’s exit from the semi-final. Even though Dhoni continues to serve Indian cricket, it remains to be seen what's next for the legend.