Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the former captain, brought Indian cricket to new heights ever since he grabbed the baton from Rahul Dravid in 2007.
Once Dhoni led the charge, there was no looking back. 2007 World Twenty 20? Done. 2013 Champions Trophy? Done. No.1 in Test Rankings? (2009) Done. But what really changed the face of the modern Indian cricket was when the man himself launched Sri Lankan Nuwan Kulasekara for a thumping six over long-on to end India's 28-year-old in bringing home the prestigious ICC World Cup trophy in front of a jam-packed Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai in 2011.
As the cricketer turned 39 on Tuesday (July 7), fans thronged to social media to reminisce the glorious days of Thala when the country backed and cheered along with Dhoni in every triumph and accolade that he earned with his batting prowess and intelligent wicketkeeping skills.
But perhaps the greatest homage to the cricketer was paid by the late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput through the 2016 Dhoni biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, where Sushant matched the calm, subdued demeanour and technique of the cricketer with ease. He essayed the life of the Ranchi boy on the big screen, while nailing the helicopter shot, which had Dhoni written all over it.
Three years later, days before the release of Chhichhore, Sushant expressed the privilege he had in playing MS during a sit-down interview with host and comedian Zakir Khan.
In the candid interview which featured the star cast of Chhichhore including Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Sharma, Naveen Polishetty, Tushar Pandey among others, the actors spoke about their days in college which was along the lines of their movie's plot.
Zakir Khan then popped a question and asked the actors if they have had ever indulged in sports. To which Sushant instantly responded and hilariously quipped, "Maine khela hai.. main Dhoni kiya hai bhai (I've played, I have played Dhoni)."
As the room erupted with laughter to Sushant's reply, Zakir praised the actor's batting skills which had significantly improved while portraying Dhoni. He followed it up by saying he had watched an interview of Dhoni where he spoke highly of Sushant's batting and said the actor could be a part of First-Class cricket.
Sushant then went on to say that his batting had indeed improved and he could track the ball better. He expressed his joy when he got to use Dhoni's kit.
The comedian then asked what it was like to hang out with the veteran cricketer, to which Sushant said, "I had a lot of fun, he's a great man. You have to give him attention else you'll miss what he's saying."
You can catch the entire interview here: