On July 7th, 1981, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was born in Ranchi, Jharkhand and turns 42 on Friday (July 7th, 2023). Having made his international debut in 2004, Dhoni has come to be known as one of the greatest captains, one having an influential presence on the Indian team for over a decade. Due to his calming presence on the field, fans affectionately call him 'Captain Cool'.
MS Dhoni's early years as a professional:
Dhoni was reportedly a goalkeeper in his school days and coach coach Keshav Ranjan Banerjee urged him to be a cricketer, given his goalkeeping skills. After rising through the ranks and plenty of struggles, Dhoni made his Ranji debut for Bihar in the 1999-2000 season. His consistent efforts led to his selection in the India A squad for the Zimbabwe and Kenya tour.
He got noticed for his keeping skills and showcased his batting exploits against Pakistan A, amassing 362 runs runs in 6 innings at 72.40. Dhoni made his ODI debut against Bangladesh in the 2004-05 tour, but was picked to face Pakistan despite not justifying his inclusion in the previous series.
The second match of the five-game ODI series against Pakistan saw the right-hander struck 148 off only 123 deliveries. It was the highest individual score by an Indian wicket-keeper before he re-wrote it again later that year by mustering 183 against Sri Lanka in Jaipur. That innings was also the turning point of his career and went on to play 350 ODIs until his retirement in August 2020. The keeper-batter's tally in 50-over internationals stands at 10773, averaging 50.57.
MS Dhoni's Test career:
Dhoni made his Test debut a year after his first ODI appearance and a promising career. The Ranchi-born cricketer took over from Anil Kumble as Test captain and led India to the top of the ICC Test rankings under his stint. However, Dhoni, as a captain, also endured a series loss to England in 2012.
He retired from Test cricket during India's 2014-15 tour of Australia as Virat Kohli took over the captaincy duties.
MS Dhoni's captaincy exploits:
Dhoni is also arguably one of the greatest captains in history and is only one to lift all three trophies - ICC Champions Trophy (2013) 50-over World Cup (2011) and T20 World Cup (2007). The 42-year-old's 110 ODI wins also marks him out as the second-most successful captain behind Ricky Ponting.
With 5 title wins for the Chennai Super Kings, Dhoni is the joint-successful skipper in history alongside Rohit Sharma, who has done the same for the Mumbai Indians. Furthermore, Dhoni is the most-capped with 226 games.