Former captain of Team India MS Dhoni celebrates his 40th birthday on July 7 this year. The man from the hinterland marched into the Indian team with long hair, smashed his way to prominence, came down the order as a finisher, led the team to all the ICC trophies and transformed Indian cricket. In ODI cricket, he has scored 10 centuries and amassed 10773 runs. In Test cricket, he scored 4876 runs that included six centuries.
At the same time, in T20Is, he scored 1617 runs, but his name will always be synonymous with captaincy and the fact that he was in-charge of the side that won the 2007 World T20, the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy.
His story as a ticket examiner in Kharagpur with the Indian Railways to the cricket leader of the country is inspirational and the anecdotes that keep following his rise are very intriguing.
Dhoni’s father was a pump operator and hence, Dhoni took up the job as a ticket examiner at Kharagpur. In 2003-04, the talent resource development officer Prakash Poddar saw Dhoni batting in a match. Although he scored just 29 runs, Poddar saw the spark in the man and he sent a report to the national talent chairman Dilip Vengsarkar. It was also sent to the then chairman Kiran More who then zipped across to Jamshedpur to watch him in the flesh. In the match against Odisha, Dhoni slammed a century and gave a great account of himself even as wicket-keeper.
A wicket-keeper batsman was what India had been looking for a very long time and in MS Dhoni, they found just that.
Immediately after, he was part of the Duleep Trophy fixture representing East Zone against North Zone and the entire selection panel was present in the stadium. This was when Kiran More asked the chairman of East Zone Pranab Roy to replace Deep Dasgupta with MS Dhoni as the wicket-keeper. Dhoni responded with a superb innings of 60 in 47 deliveries and made his presence felt. He smashed Ashish Nehra for a six and four and stamped his authority over the game.
Owing to this performance, Dhoni was included in the India A side that toured Kenya for a tri-nation series and he scored consecutive centuries against Pakistan which saw him being drafted into the Indian side for the Bangladesh series in 2004. Although he was run out without scoring in his debut match, he finally arrived on the big stage with a sterling innings of 148 against Pakistan in Visakhapatnam and the rest as they say is history.