As the man who won every ICC trophy as captain finally called a day on his international career, speculations are rife whether MS Dhoni will join politics and if it will be BJP?
His older brother, Narendra Singh Dhoni, omitted from his biopic, had joined BJP in 2009 before swapping ideologies and joining the Samajwadi Party in 2013.
While Amit Shah personally visited Dhoni in the run-up to the 2019 campaign, his bete noir in the Indian team, Gautam Gambhir also had an enigmatic tweet.
Now a sitting MP from Delhi, Gautam Gambhir wrote on Twitter: “From “India A” to “The India” our journey has been full of question marks, commas, blanks & exclamations. Now as you put a full stop to your chapter, I can tell u from experience that the new phase is as exciting and there’s no limit to DRS here!!! Well played.”
Incidentally, Gambhir is often bittersweet about his relationship with Dhoni and took umbrage with a cricket site which had put up a picture of Dhoni’s six as the defining moment of the 2011 World Cup.
One wonders if Dhoni and Gambhir will be on the same team again.
Whether Dhoni will follow Gambhir is something we will have to wait and see though Dhoni’s nationalist image would be a perfect fit for BJP.
As a member of the Territorial Army, he will join sitting minister Anurag Thakur as well.
Many already consider him an icon on par with PM Narendra Modi and both do have similar roots. The outsider who came from nowhere and shook the system and took the top job in the country.
Dhoni’s last game came at the 2019 semi-final defeat to New Zealand. After that, former Union Minister Sanjay Paswan had claimed that Dhoni would join the party before the Jharkhand assembly polls.
Paswan had told IANS: “On this issue, there has been a discussion for long, although this decision will be taken only after his retirement. Dhoni is my friend, he is a player of world fame and there have been discussions on bringing him into the party fold.”
Of course, that didn’t happen, and BJP lost the state to the JMM-Congress combine.
Dhoni signed off in style with an enigmatic video which had his nadirs as well as his triumphs. There was the video of him getting out to Muttiah Muralitharan in the 2007 World Cup. There was as still showing his pictures being burned.
Dhoni’s impact on India or even cricket is hard to quantify. One Guardian piece from 2017 argued that Dhoni was ‘accidental captain who reshaped cricket’.
The 2007 T20 World Cup saw Dhoni lead a band of young men to the trophy and reshape cricket itself. Dhoni reportedly told Joginder Sharma, now a cop with Haryana Police: “You have bowled so many overs in domestic cricket with so much dedication, when no one is watching. Don’t worry, cricket won’t let you down now.”
India’s victory changed cricket, heralded the era of the IPL and saved a game many thought was going to die off in the era of depleting attention spans. None of that would’ve been possible with Dhoni, the only cricketer to a make it to Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people on the planet.
While there’s no official word on Dhoni joining politics, one can be in no doubt that pioneer like Mahi will leave his mark there as well, if he chooses to do so.