16 February 2019
Bhubaneswar: Indians love cricket. As it is rightly said, “Cricket is a religion in India”. Every time the Men in Blue are on screen, Indians are glued to their televisions. While many genuinely love the sport, there are several people who watch the matches only to see their favorite player. The players in the Indian Cricket team enjoy their own fan following. There was a decade when the entire stadium chanted ‘Sachin! Sachin!’ but in the mid 2000s that changed to ‘Dhoni! Dhoni!’
Here are 5 reasons how Mahendra Singh Dhoni went on to rule the hearts of Indians:
The tag ‘cool’ came to be associated with Dhoni as he never loses his calm on the field. He handles pressure situations with ultimate suave and a ‘Plan B’ taking India to victory most of the times. Whether he is batting or behind the stumps, he rarely displays his emotions and channelizes his aggression through his game plan.
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The 37-year-old is known for his captaincy. He holds numerous records such as the most wins by an Indian captain in Tests, ODIs and T20Is. Under his leadership, India won the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, 2007–08 Commonwealth Bank Series, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
Regarded widely as one of the greatest finishers, this middle-order batsman loves finishing matches with his signature helicopter shot. The famous wrist shot became a sensation when he played it first during his initial cricketing days. For a decade now, everyone has been a huge fan of his shot and players have tried to copy it. Dhoni plays the shot with relentless action and sends the stadium into frenzy when the ball is hit into the thin air.
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Dhoni has also made his mark for lightning quick stumping. This was made clear during the recent fifth One-day International between India and New Zealand when a video of Dhoni running Jimmy Neesham out due to the latter’s careless mistake went viral. Even the International Cricket Council (ICC) acknowledged Dhoni’s presence of mind and tweeted, "Never leave your crease with MS Dhoni behind the stumps."
Dhoni has time and again proved how patriotic he is and how he loves playing for the country. Every time the national anthem plays before the start of the match, Dhoni’s eyes light up and he perfectly lip syncs to the tune of ‘Jana Gana Mana’. He showed his love for the country recently on Sunday, while India was playing T20 against New Zealand and a fan ran onto the field in order to meet his idol. As the fan bowed down to touch Dhoni's feet, Dhoni snatched away the Indian flag that the fan was carrying in his hand so that it did not touch the ground. The social media responded to the patriotic gesture by calling Dhoni a ‘legend’.
As crazy as it may sound, there are several people who love Dhoni for his iconic hairstyles. He started with golden-brown long hair that quickly changed to jet-black straightened hair in 2007. It was a look that would be copied on the streets of India after Dhoni led the team to the trophy in T20 World Cup. In 2011, Dhoni unveiled a completely trimmed hair look that had grown into a never-seen-before Mohawk by 2013. Currently Dhoni sports mid-length hair with a salt and pepper look that has the girls swooning over him.
Dhoni is also known for his quick-witted and funny remarks to his teammates. "Oye Sree, udhar girlfriend nahi hai, idhar aaja thoda", "Ball pe dhyan de, sone ka time baad mein milega" and “volleyball ki tarah khada hua hai beach pe", “Frankly speaking, I don't understand Duckworth-Lewis method” are some of his many hilarious dialogues.
Dhoni goes to the same barber instead of an expensive stylist, he prefers train rides sometimes instead of flights, he pleases his fans by never saying no for a ‘seflie’, he shares the victory cup with everyone and is often noticed in the background of the winning group photos, and he even took a tea stall owner, whose shop he frequently visited while working in Railways, for a fancy dinner. On top of that, he is a complete family man and does not mind crawling on the ground to spend some quality time with his daughter Ziva. His wife Sakshi is also seen accompanying him to most of his matches to support him. All these qualities make for a down-to-earth personality which is loved by millions across the World.