Mahendra Singh has turned 36. He burst on to the international scene as a sprightly 23-year-old and made the wicketkeeper-batman’s position his own. There was little doubt the Jharkhand lad was destined for greatness.
In less than three years, despite the presence of heavyweights in the side, Dhoni was named captain of India’s limited-overs sides and he made an immediate impact. Not long after, he took over the reins of the Test captaincy from Anil Kumble and India were soon on their way to greatness again.
World T20, the World Cup, Champions Trophy, No.1 Test team – Dhoni has done everything humanly possible as captain and a finisher par excellence. Besides, his wicketkeeping skills got better with each passing day.
We all know about Dhoni the cricketer, the husband, the father and the man behind Indian cricket’s biggest success stories. But there is still a lot more to him than what meets the eye.
Even after achieving almost everything in international cricket, Dhoni remains a deep-rooted and humble man who began his career from the small town of Ranchi in Jharkhand. His tries to steer as far away from controversies as he can and keeps his private life away from the media glare.
So as India’s most-decorated cricket captain turns 36, we have compiled a list of 36 facts about Dhoni which not many of you might know about.
1.Dhoni was born on 7 July 1981 in Ranchi, Jharkhand after his family moved to the city from Uttarakhand.
2.Dhoni’s paternal village Lvali is in the Lamgarha block of the Almora District of Uttarakhand.
3.Dhoni studied at the DAV Jawahar Vidya Mandir in Ranchi and was into sports from a very young age.
4.Before taking up cricket full-time, Dhoni excelled in football and badminton. He played at the district and club level in both football and badminton.
5.Dhoni was an excellent goalkeeper and his skills in football caught the attention of his childhood coach Keshav Bannerjee, who urged him to try his hand at cricket and wicketkeeping.
6.Dhoni was a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) at Kharagpur railway station from 2001 to 2003, under South Eastern Railway in Midnapore.
7.The East zone team which won the Deodar Trophy in the year 2004, rejected Dhoni at first saying he had an unconventional playing style.
8.While playing for the Central Coal Fields Limited in the Sheesh Mahal tournament, Dhoni used to get Rs 50 from his coach Deval Sahay for each six that he hit in the matches.
9.Dhoni made his debut for Bihar in the Ranji Trophy against Assam in 1999-2000 season. He scored 68 not out in his maiden innings and finished the season with 283 runs in five matches.
10.Dhoni is known for his passion for motorcycles. His love for two-wheelers started from a very young age and he now has an enviable list of bikes ranging from the very old to the very exclusive.
11.Dhoni owns bikes such as the Yamaha RD350, Harley Davidson Fatboy, Ducati 1098, Kawasaki Ninja H2 and the super exclusive Confederate Hellcat X132. The former India captain is the only one to own this rare bike in South East Asia.
12.The ‘Helicopter Shot’, which Dhoni is famous for, was taught to him during a tennis-ball tournament in Ranchi by his friend Santosh Lal.
13. Dhoni made his international debut in an ODI match against Bangladesh in Chittagong and got run out from the first ball he faced while batting at No. 7.
14.Dhoni has played 131 First-class matches and scored 7038 runs at 36.84 with nine hundreds and 47 half-centuries.
15.In 296 ODIs Dhoni has amassed 9496 runs at an average of 51.32 with 10 hundreds and 64 fifties. He is the second highest run-scorer as a wicketkeeper in one-day internationals.
16.Dhoni retired from Test cricket in December 2014 but not before he scoring 4876 in 90 matches at 38.09 with six hundreds and 33 fifties. Virat Kohli took over the captaincy after Dhoni’s retirement.
17.Dhoni is the only captain in world cricket to win all three ICC trophies – 2007 World T20, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy.
18.Dhoni is the most successful Indian Test captain with 27 Test wins, eclipsing Sourav Ganguly’s record of 21. He is also the most successful ODI and T20I captain for India with 110 and 41 wins respectively.
19.Dhoni is the third captain in world cricket to win more than 100 ODI matches after Australia’s Ricky Ponting and Allan Border.
20.In just his fifth ODI, Dhoni was promoted up the batting order at No. 3 and he repaid the team management’s faith by smashing 148 off 123 balls against Pakistan in Vizag. It was his maiden hundred in international cricket and is the fastest ton by an Indian wicket-keeper in ODIs.
21.Dhoni married Sakshi Singh Rawat on 4 July, 2010. Sakshi hails from Dehradun, Uttarakhand. At the time of their marriage, she was studying Hotel Management and was working as a trainee at the Taj Bengal in Kolkata.
22.Dhoni made sure to keep his wedding away from the media glare and it was attended only by his close friends and family members. Actor John Abraham and Bipasha Basu were also a part of the celebrations.
23.Dhoni and Sakshi welcomed their daughter, Ziva, on 6 February 2015.
24.Dhoni is known to be the best and the fastest stumper in the game and has affected a record 155 stumpings so far in all three formats.
25.Dhoni has hit the most international sixes as captain (204). Overall he hast hit 322 sixes so far and is fifth on the list led by former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi (476).
26.Dhoni also holds the record for playing the most number of international matches as captain (331).
27.Dhoni is India’s most successful captain as mentioned before but he also has the dubious distinction of an Indian captain with most Test defeats overseas with 15.
28.Dhoni’s knock of 54 off 114 balls against West Indies at Antigua in 2017 was the second slowest half-century scored by an Indian batsman. Sadagoppan Ramesh holds the unwanted record.
29.The unbeaten 183 he scored against Sri Lanka in Jaipur in 2005 is the highest score by a wicket-keeper in ODI cricket.
30.Dhoni’s 224 against Australia in the Chennai Test in 2013 is the second highest score by an Indian captain. En route to 224, Dhoni registered the highest Test score by an Indian wicket-keeper when he was on 193, beating Budhi Kunderan’s 192.
31.Dhoni is known to be one of the greatest ODI players in history and over the years has been the best finisher in limited-overs cricket. His awesome but unconventional batting skills has helped him average over 50 in ODI cricket despite his batting position in the middle order. He has the highest batting average among wicket-keepers in ODIs.
32.For Dhoni has always maintained that the Army is his first love and was conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel on 1 November 2011. “I love my country, I tell my wife shie is only the third most important after my country and my parents, in that order,” Dhoni once said.
33.Dhoni has a huge fan following in India and abroad. Among the many crazy fans he has met over the years, there was one girl in Ranchi who chased his Hummer in her scooty and clicked a selfie with him at the Airport.
34.Dhoni is the only cricketer to feature in seven IPL finals. He has won the tournament twice with Chennai Super Kings in 2010 and 2011, being the only captain to defend the title.
35.Dhoni was a huge fan of John Abraham copied and had long hair just like him. He even cut his hair short when the Bollywood actor did so.
36.Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf had asked Dhoni not to cut his hair on the 2004-05 Tour. However, a few years later he was sporting a short hairdo.