With cricket being a religion in our country, such cool characters as Dhoni are always sure to be idolised. However, it’s hard to imagine coming along with the same levels of integrity as this man. Mahi is a man that all of the India can identify with. He is someone who burst onto the international scene with his uninhibited aggressive batting, changing hairstyles and his easy-going charisma.
Here are some lesser known facts about Dhoni are testimonials to a career of achievements.
1. Early Life
Mahi, as Dhoni is fondly called, was born to Devaki Devi and Pan Singh in Ranchi, Jharkhand (then in Bihar).
2. Started Career As a Ticket Collector in Railways
Dhoni worked as a train ticket examiner at Kharagpur Railway Station from 2001 to 2003. Something to say for humble beginnings?
He went to DAV Jawahar Vidya Mandir, Shyamali and excelled in football as a goalkeeper and badminton. His switch to cricket was not an intentional one – he only took up the game when his school team’s regular wicketkeeper was out due to injury, and he was asked to fill in. Being a goalkeeper might have made the switch to wicket-keeping a smooth one, what say?
4. Not a school drop-out
As often believed, our beloved Mahi did not drop out of the school; he passed his 12th Board exams with a fairly decent score of 66%.
5. Rejected for being unconventional
Yes, you heard it right! Before his unorthodox batting technique became a rage, Dhoni was rejected by the East Zone Deodhar Trophy squad for his unconventional playing style.
6. Missed the birth of his daughter Ziva
Immensely committed to the team cause, Dhoni missed the birth of his daughter in February 2015 as he was away on cricketing duty.
7. Much talked-about Hairstyles
Mahi is known to be fast friends with John Abraham and Bipasha Basu.
In fact, the long golden locks of our Captain Cool (which were admired by former Pakistan PM Parvez Musharraf) were actually an imitation of John’s look.
8. Supports Other Sports
Dhoni has also extended his hand to support other sports. He is the co-owner of the Indian Super League team, Chennaiyin FC. He also co-owns the Ranchi Rays team, a franchise of the India Hockey League.
9. Passion for bikes
MSD is passionate about speed. He is an enthusiastic collector of both motorbikes and cars.
He also partnered with Telugu movie star, Akkineni Nagarjuna, to buy a SuperSport World Championship team. It is named Mahi Racing Team India.
10. Honorary Rank as Lt. Col.
Dhoni had often stated his childhood dream of being a part of the Indian Army, which came true when he was conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel by the Indian Territorial Army in November 2011. His association with the army did not end there.
In July 2015, MSD underwent a two-week training program with the Elite Para regiment of the Force in Agra. He did five parachute jumps on completion of the course.
11. Helicopter Shot
He learnt his trademark ‘helicopter shot’ from former Jharkhand cricketer, Santhosh Lal.
12. Mahi- Sakhi Love Story
MSD first met his wife-to-be, Sakshi Singh Rawat at the Taj Bengal, Kolkata in 2007. India was playing Pakistan at the Eden Gardens, and Sakshi was interning at the hotel. Incidentally, the two met on Sakshi’s last day of internship. It seems like Captain Cool charmed his fortunes as well.
13. How much does Mahi earn?
In 2012, Forbes Magazine listed MS Dhoni at #31 among the top paid athletes in the world, ahead of Wayne Rooney and Usain Bolt. In 2015, he was the 23rd highest-earning athlete in the world.
14. Secured a place in Time Magazine list
In 2011, Time Magazine included Dhoni in its annual list of 100 Most Influential People in the World. Such is the mass appeal of Captain Cool; an appeal that extends beyond borders and beyond cricket.
15. M. S Dhoni – The Untold Story
His biopic, MS Dhoni – The Untold Story, starring Sushant Singh Rajput will be out in September 2016.
Here’s wishing our Mahi a happy birthday and plenty of success in the years to come.