Mahendra Singh Dhoni (born 7 July 1981), is a former Indian international cricketer who captained the Indian national team in limited-overs formats from 2007 to 2016 and in Test cricket from 2008 to 2014. Under his captaincy, India won the inaugural 2007 ICC World Twenty20, the 2010 and 2016 Asia Cups, the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy. A right-handed middle-order batsman and wicket-keeper, Dhoni is one of the highest run scorers in One Day Internationals (ODIs) with more than 10,000 runs scored and is considered an effective “finisher” in limited-overs formats. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wicket-keeper batsmen and captains in the history of the game. He was also the first wicket-keeper to effect 100 stumpings in ODI cricket.
Dhoni made his ODI debut on 23 December 2004 against Bangladesh, and played his first Test a year later against Sri Lanka. He has been the recipient of many awards, including the ICC ODI Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009 (the first player to win the award twice), the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2007, the Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian honour, in 2009 and the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour, in 2018. Dhoni was named as the captain of the ICC World Test XI in 2009, 2010 and 2013. He has also been selected a record 8 times in ICC World ODI XI teams, 5 times as captain. The Indian Territorial Army conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel to Dhoni on 1 November 2011. He is the second Indian cricketer after Kapil Dev to receive this honour.
Dhoni also holds numerous captaincy records such as the most wins by an Indian captain in ODIs and T20Is, and most back-to-back wins by an Indian captain in ODIs. He took over the ODI captaincy from Rahul Dravid in 2007 and led the team to its first-ever bilateral ODI series wins in Sri Lanka and New Zealand. In June 2013, when India defeated England in the final of the Champions Trophy in England, Dhoni became the first captain to win all three ICC limited-overs trophies (World Cup, Champions Trophy and the World Twenty20). After taking up the Test captaincy in 2008, he led the team to series wins in New Zealand and the West Indies, and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2008, 2010 and 2013. In 2009, Dhoni also led the Indian team to number one position for the first time in the ICC Test rankings.
In 2013, under Dhoni’s captaincy, India became the first team in more than 40 years to whitewash Australia in a Test series. In the Indian Premier League, he captained the Chennai Super Kings to victory at the 2010, 2011 and 2018 seasons, along with wins in the 2010 and 2014 editions of Champions League Twenty20. In 2011, Time magazine included Dhoni in its annual Time 100 list as one of the “Most Influential People in the World.” Dhoni holds the post of Vice-President of India Cements Ltd., after resigning from Air India. India Cements is the owner of the Indian Premier League team Chennai Super Kings, and Dhoni has been its captain since the first IPL season. He announced his retirement from Tests on 30 December 2014.
In 2012, SportsPro rated Dhoni as the sixteenth most marketable athlete in the world. He is the co-owner of Indian Super League team Chennaiyin FC. In June 2015, Forbes ranked Dhoni at 23rd in the list of highest paid athletes in the world, estimating his earnings at US$31 million. In 2016, a biopic M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story was made on his life and his cricket career up to the Indian team’s win at the 2011 Cricket World Cup.
MS Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on 15 August 2020.
Early life and background
Dhoni was born in Ranchi, Bihar (now in Jharkhand), and he hails from a Hindu Rajput family. His paternal village Lwali is in the Lamgara block of the Almora District of Uttarakhand. Dhoni’s parents moved from Uttarakhand to Ranchi, where his father Pan Singh worked in junior management positions in MECON. Dhoni has a sister Jayanti Gupta and a brother Narendra Singh Dhoni. Dhoni is a fan of Adam Gilchrist, and his childhood idols were cricket teammate Sachin Tendulkar, Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and singer Lata Mangeshkar
Dhoni studied at DAV Jawahar Vidya Mandir, Shyamali, Ranchi, Jharkhand where he initially excelled in badminton and football and was selected at district and club level in these sports. Dhoni was a goalkeeper for his football team and was sent to play cricket for a local cricket club by his football coach. Though he had not played cricket, Dhoni impressed with his wicket-keeping skills and became the regular wicketkeeper at the Commando cricket club (1995–1998). Based on his performance at club cricket, he was picked for the 1997/98 season Vinoo Mankad Trophy Under-16 Championship and he performed well. Dhoni focused on cricket after his 10th standard. He was a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) at Kharagpur railway station from 2001 to 2003, under South Eastern Railway in Midnapore (W), a district in West Bengal. His colleagues remember him as a very honest, straightforward employee of the Indian Railways. But Dhoni also had a mischievous side to his personality. Once, while staying at the railway quarters, Dhoni and a couple of his friends covered themselves in white bedsheets and walked around in the complex late in the night. The night guards were fooled into believing that there were ghosts moving around in the complex. The story made big news on the next day.
Junior cricket in Bihar
In 1998, Dhoni was selected by Deval Sahay to play for the Central Coal Fields Limited (CCL) team. Till 1998 Dhoni, who was in class 12th in school, had played only school cricket and club cricket and no professional cricket. One of the famous episodes, when Dhoni used to play for CCL, was when Deval Sahay used to gift him Rs 50 for each six that he hit in Sheesh Mahal tournament cricket matches. Playing for CCL, he got a chance to bat up the order. He grabbed the opportunity and scored centuries and helped CCL move to the A division.Deval Sahay impressed by his hard-hitting shots and dedication, used his contacts in Bihar Cricket Association to push for his selection in the Bihar team. Deval Sahay, an ex Bihar Cricket Association Vice-President, was the Ranchi District Cricket President at that time and was instrumental in pushing Dhoni to the big stage of Ranchi team, junior Bihar cricket team and eventually senior Bihar Ranji Team for the 1999–2000 season. Within 1 year, Dhoni moved from playing in CCL to the Bihar Ranji team. Dhoni has credited Deval Sahay for instilling discipline in him. Dhoni was included in the Bihar U-19 squad for the 1998–99 season and scored 176 runs in 5 matches (7 innings) as the team finished fourth in the group of six and did not make it to the quarter-finals. Dhoni was not picked for the East Zone U-19 squad (CK Nayudu Trophy) or Rest of India squad (MA Chidambaram Trophy and Vinoo Mankad Trophy). Bihar U-19 cricket team advanced to the finals of 1999–2000 Cooch Behar Trophy, where Dhoni made 84 to help Bihar post a total of 357. Bihar’s efforts were dwarfed by Punjab U-19s’ 839 with Dhoni’s future national squad teammate Yuvraj Singh making 358. Dhoni’s contribution in the tournament included 488 runs (9 matches, 12 innings), 5 fifties, 17 catches and 7 stumpings. Dhoni made it to the East Zone U-19 squad for the CK Nayudu trophy but scored only 97 runs in four matches, as East Zone lost all four matches and finished last in the tournament.
Bihar cricket team
Dhoni made his Ranji Trophy debut for Bihar in the 1999–2000 season, as an eighteen-year-old. He made a half century in his debut match scoring 68* in the second innings against Assam cricket team.] Dhoni finished the season with 283 runs in 5 matches. Dhoni scored his maiden first-class century while playing for Bihar against Bengal in the 2000/01 season, in a losing cause. Apart from this century, his performance in the 2000/01 season did not include another score over fifty and in the 2001/02 season, he scored just five fifties in four Ranji matches.
Jharkhand cricket team
Dhoni’s performance in the 2002–03 season included three half-centuries in the Ranji Trophy and a couple of half-centuries in the Deodhar Trophy, as he started gaining recognition for his lower-order contribution as well as hard-hitting batting style. In the 2003/04 season, Dhoni scored a century (128*) against Assam in the first match of the Ranji ODI tournament. Dhoni was part of the East Zone squad that won the Deodhar Trophy 2003–2004 season and contributed with 244 runs in 4 matches, including a century (114) against Central zone.
In the Duleep Trophy finals, Dhoni was picked over international cricketer Deep Dasgupta to represent East Zone. He scored a fighting half-century in the second innings in a losing cause. Dhoni’s talent was discovered via the BCCI‘s small-town talent-spotting initiative TRDW. Dhoni was discovered by TRDO Prakash Poddar, captain of Bengal in the 1960s, when he saw Dhoni play for Jharkhand at a match in Jamshedpur in 2003, and sent a report to the National Cricket Academy.
India A team
He was recognised for his efforts in the 2003/04 season, especially in the One Day format and was picked for the India A squad for a tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya. Against the Zimbabwe XI in Harare Sports Club, Dhoni had his best wicket-keeping effort with 7 catches and 4 stumpings in the match. In the tri-nation tournament involving Kenya, India A and Pakistan A, Dhoni helped India A chase down their target of 223 against Pakistan A with a half-century. Continuing his good performance, he scored back to back centuries – 120 and 119* – against the same team. Dhoni scored 362 runs in 6 innings at an average of 72.40 and his performance in the series received attention from the then Indian captain – Sourav Ganguly and Ravi Shastri, amongst others.
Start of ODI career
The Indian ODI team in the early 2000s saw Rahul Dravid as the wicket-keeper to ensure that the wicket-keeper spot didn’t lack in batting talent. The team also saw the entry of wicket-keeper/batsmen from the junior ranks, with talents like Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik (both India U-19 captains) named in the Test squads. With Dhoni making a mark in the India A squad, he was picked in the ODI squad for the Bangladesh tour in 2004/05. Dhoni did not have a great start to his ODI career, getting run out for a duck on debut. In spite of an average series against Bangladesh, Dhoni was picked for the Pakistan ODI series.
In the second match of the series, Dhoni, in his fifth one-day international, scored 148 in Visakhapatnam off only 123 deliveries. Dhoni’s 148 surpassed the earlier record for the highest score by an Indian wicket-keeper, a record that he would re-write before the end of the year.
Dhoni had few batting opportunities in the first two games of the Sri Lankan bilateral ODI series (October–November 2005) and was promoted to No. 3 in the third ODI at Sawai Mansingh Stadium (Jaipur). Sri Lanka had set India a target of 299 after a Kumar Sangakkara century and, in reply, India lost Tendulkar early. Dhoni was promoted to accelerate the scoring and ended the game with an unbeaten 183 off 145 balls, winning the game for India. The innings was described in Wisden Almanack (2006) as ‘Uninhibited, yet anything but crude’. The innings set various records including the highest individual score in ODI cricket in the second innings, a record only broken after seven years by Shane Watson. Dhoni ended the series with the highest run aggregate (346) and was awarded the Man of the Series award for his efforts. In December 2005, Dhoni was rewarded a B-grade contract by the BCCI.
India scored 328 in 50 overs with Dhoni contributing 68 in their first match of 2006 against Pakistan. However, the team finished poorly scoring just 43 runs in the last eight overs and lost the match due to Duckworth-Lewis method. In the third match of the series, Dhoni came in with India in a precarious situation and scored 72 runs off just 46 balls that included 13 boundaries to help India take a 2–1 lead in the series. The final match of the series had a repeat performance as Dhoni scored 77 runs off 56 balls to enable India win the series 4–1. Due to his consistent ODI performances, Dhoni overtook Ricky Ponting as number one in the ICC ODI Rankings for batsmen on 20 April 2006 becoming the fastest batsman to do so, in 42 innings. His reign lasted just a week as Adam Gilchrist‘s performance against Bangladesh moved him to the top spot.
Two cancelled series in Sri Lanka, one due to the withdrawal of South Africa from the Unitech Cup due to security concerns and the replacement three-match ODI bilateral series against Sri Lanka washed due to rain, was India’s prelude to another disappointing tournament – DLF Cup 2006-07. Dhoni scored 43 runs as the team lost twice in three games and did not qualify for the finals. India’s lack of preparation showed in the 2006 ICC Champions Trophy as they lost to West Indies and Australia, though Dhoni scored a half-century against West Indies. The story of the ODI series in South Africa was the same for both Dhoni and India as Dhoni scored 139 runs in 4 matches and India lost the series 4–0. From the start of the West Indies ODI series, Dhoni had played 16 matches, hit just two fifties and averaged 25.93. Dhoni received criticism on his wicket-keeping technique from former wicket-keeper Syed Kirmani. Yet, for his performances in 2006, he was named in the World ODI XI by the ICC.
2007 World Cup
India unexpectedly crashed out of the World Cup after losses to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the group stage. Dhoni was out for a duck in both these matches and scored just 29 runs in the tournament. After the loss to Bangladesh in 2007 Cricket World Cup, the house that Dhoni was constructing in his home-town Ranchi was vandalised and damaged by political activists of JMM. The local police arranged for security for his family as India exited the World Cup in the first round.
Dhoni put his disappointing performances in the World Cup behind him by scoring 91* against Bangladesh, after India were left in a tight spot earlier in the run-chase. Dhoni was declared the Man of the Match for his performance, his fourth in ODI cricket. He was also later adjudged the Man of the Series after the third game of the series was washed away. Dhoni had a good Afro-Asia Cup, scoring 174 runs in 3 matches at an average of 87.00, with a blitzkrieg 139 not out off 97 balls, a Man of the Match innings, in the third ODI.
Dhoni was named vice-captain of the ODI team for the series against South Africa in Ireland and the subsequent India-England seven-match ODI series. Dhoni, who received a ‘B’ grade contract in December 2005, was awarded an ‘A’ grade contract in June 2007. He was also elected as the captain of the Indian squad for the World Twenty20 in September 2007. On 2 September 2007, Dhoni equalled his idol Adam Gilchrist’s international record for the most dismissals in an innings in ODI by catching five English players and stumping one.
Rise through ranks
During the series between India and Australia in 2009, Dhoni hit an aggressive 124 runs in just 107 balls, in the second ODI, and a measured knock of 71 runs in 95 balls, along with Yuvraj Singh and saw India home by 6 wickets in the third ODI. Dhoni took his first and only wicket in international cricket on 30 September 2009. He bowled Travis Dowlin of the West Indies during a match in the 2009 ICC Champions Trophy.
Dhoni topped the ICC ODI Batsman rankings for several months in 2009. Michael Hussey from Australia replaced him at the top spot at the beginning of 2010.
Dhoni had an excellent year in ODIs in 2009, scoring 1198 runs in just 24 innings, at an astonishing average of 70.43. Dhoni was also the joint top-scorer in ODIs in 2009 along with Ricky Ponting, but the latter having played 30 innings. For his performances in 2009, he was named as captain and wicketkeeper of the World ODI XI by the ICC.
The ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 kicked off in the subcontinent and Dhoni-led India was seen as “favorites”. Although Dhoni didn’t have a good show with the bat averaging just 30.0 in seven innings and managing 150 runs, India reached the finals with victories over Australia and Pakistan in quarter-finals and semi-finals, respectively. Chasing a target of 275 in the final against Sri Lanka, Dhoni rescued his team alongside Gautam Gambhir, and later Yuvraj Singh to help India lift their second World Cup title since 1983. He scored 91 not out, finishing the game with a historical six and claiming the Man of the Match award.
Post 2011 World Cup
In 2012, Pakistan toured India for a bilateral series for the first time in five years. In the three-match ODI series, Dhoni top-scored for India in all three innings; however, India lost the series 1–2. In the first ODI at Chennai, he helped India recover from 29/5 to help post a total of 227 in 50 overs. Playing a knock of 113 not out, he had a record partnership with Ravichandran Ashwin, although in a losing cause.
Winning the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, Dhoni became the first and the only captain in international cricket to claim all ICC trophies. In the rain-shortened final against England, he was out for a duck and thus ending up the tournament with 27 runs from two innings. However, his field placements and tactics came handy, the team was successful beating the opposition by five runs (D/L method). He was also named as captain and wicketkeeper of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ by the ICC.
Just after the Champions Trophy, India toured West Indies for a tri-nation tournament against West Indies and Sri Lanka. Dhoni got injured in the start of the tournament itself and got ruled out for the whole tournament. However, despite of not having fully recovered, he returned to play the final against Sri Lanka, once again only to find himself become a hero after single-handedly taking India to a victory by just one wicket. Dhoni scored an unbeaten 45 off 52 balls with scoring 16 runs in the final over required for the victory. He was adjudged Man of the match for this performance.
In November 2013, Dhoni became the second India batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to aggregate 1,000 or more ODI-runs against Australia.
India toured South Africa and New Zealand in the 2013–14 season and ending up losing both series, 0–2 and 0–4, respectively. Against South Africa, Dhoni managed 84 runs at an average of 48.0, including one half-century. Against New Zealand, he managed 272 runs which included three consecutive 50-plus scores. In the third match of the series, his knock of 50 helped India tie the match and eventually avoiding a series whitewash. Meanwhile, he scored his 8000th run in ODI cricket on the tour.
2015 World Cup
India’s preparation, going into the tournament, looked poor as India failed badly in the Carlton Mid Triangular Series in Australia, failing to win a single match. Dhoni himself managed just 70 runs from three innings averaging 23.34.
During the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Dhoni became the first Indian captain to win all group stages matches in such a tournament. India achieved wins against arch-rivals Pakistan, South Africa (whom they hadn’t beaten before in a World Cup game), the United Arab Emirates, the West Indies, Ireland and Zimbabwe. In the match against Zimbabwe at Eden Park, he made 85 not out chasing 288 and had an unbeaten partnership of 195 with Suresh Raina. This is the highest score by an Indian captain on New Zealand soil. Beating Bangladesh in the quarter finals, he became the third overall and the first non-Australian captain to win 100 ODI matches. In an unsuccessful effort against eventual champions Australia in the semi-finals, he made 65 as India were unable to defend their title.
Stepping down as captain and thereafter
Dhoni stepped down as captain of India in the limited over formats in January 2017, just ahead of the ODI series at home against England. In the second game of the series, he scored 134 off 122 balls, that included a 256-run partnership for the fourth wicket along with Yuvraj Singh. The century, his tenth in ODIs, was his first in over three years. He was named as a wicketkeeper of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ at the 2017 Champions Trophy by Cricbuzz. He was also named in the ODI XI of the year by Cricbuzz.
In August that year, during the fifth and final ODI against Sri Lanka in Colombo, he became the first wicket-keeper to effect 100 stumpings surpassing Kumar Sangakkara, when he stumped Akila Dananjaya off Yuzvendra Chahal. He reached the milestone of effecting 400 dismissals in ODIs in February 2018, following the stumping of Aiden Markram in the third ODI of the South Africa tour.
Dhoni went past 10,000 ODI runs in the second ODI against England during his team’s 2018 tour, and became the fourth Indian and twelfth overall to do so. He had a relatively mediocre series, having scored 79 runs in two innings at a lowly strike rate of 63.20. This was followed by two poor outings for him in the ODI format; the Asia Cup that he finished with 77 runs in four innings at an average of 19.25 and the home series against West Indies where he aggregated 50 runs from three innings. Dhoni was consequently dropped from the T20I squads for the series that followed and the Australia tour later that season. However, he was included in the squad named for the ODI series there. In the three-match series, Dhoni found form and scored half-centuries in all three games with the latter two resulting in wins, helping India secure a 2–1 series victory, their first in a bilateral series on Australian soil. Dhoni finished with 193 runs and was named player of the series. He also became the fourth Indian to score more than 1,000 ODI runs there.
He announced his retirement from all forms of international cricket on 15 August 2020.
Following his good one-day performance against Sri Lanka, Dhoni replaced Dinesh Karthik in December 2005 as the Indian teams’ Test wicket-keeper. Dhoni scored 30 runs in his debut match, that was marred by rain. Dhoni came to the crease when the team was struggling at 109/5 and as wickets kept falling around him, he played an aggressive innings in which he was the last man to be dismissed. Dhoni made his maiden half-century in the second Test and his quick scoring rate (half century came off 51 balls) helped India set a target of 436 and the Sri Lankans were bowled out for 247.
India toured Pakistan in January–February 2006 and Dhoni scored his maiden century in the second Test at Faisalabad. India was in a tight spot when Dhoni along with Irfan Pathan tried to steady the ship, with the team still needing 107 runs to avoid a follow-on. Dhoni played in his naturally aggressive style as he brought up his maiden Test hundred in just 93 balls after scoring the first fifty in just 34 deliveries.
Dhoni followed up the century with some prosaic batting performances over the next three matches, one against Pakistan that India lost and two against England that had India holding a 1–0 lead. Dhoni was the top scorer in India’s first innings in the third Test at Wankhede Stadium as his 64 helped India post a respectable 279 in reply to England’s 400. However, Dhoni and the Indian fielders dropped catches and missed many dismissal chances, including a key stumping opportunity of Andrew Flintoff (14). Dhoni failed to collect the Harbhajan Singh delivery cleanly as Flintoff went on to make 36 more runs as England set a target of 313 for the home team, a target that India was never in danger of threatening. A batting collapse saw the team being dismissed for 100 and Dhoni scored just 5 runs and faced criticism for his wicket-keeping lapses as well as his shot selection.
On the West Indies tour in 2006, Dhoni scored a quick and aggressive 69 in the first Test at Antigua. The rest of the series was unremarkable for Dhoni as he scored 99 runs in the remaining 6 innings but his wicket-keeping skills improved and he finished the series with 13 catches and 4 stumpings. In the Test series in South Africa later that year, Dhoni’s scores of 34 and 47 were not sufficient to save the second Test against the Proteas, as India lost the series 2–1, squandering the chance to build on their first ever Test victory in South Africa (achieved in the first Test match). Dhoni’s bruised hands ruled him out of the third Test match.
On the fourth day of the first Test match at Antigua Recreation Ground, St John’s, Antigua during India’s tour of West Indies, 2006, Dhoni’s flick off Dave Mohammed to the midwicket region was caught by Daren Ganga. As the batsman started to walk back, captain Dravid declared the innings when the confusion started as the umpires were not certain if the fielder stepped on the ropes and Dhoni stayed for the umpire’s verdict. While the replays were inconclusive, the captain of the West Indies side, Brian Lara, wanted Dhoni to walk off based on the fielder’s assertion of the catch. The impasse continued for more than 15 minutes and Lara’s temper was on display with finger-wagging against the umpires and snatching the ball from umpire Asad Rauf. Ultimately, Dhoni walked off and Dravid’s declaration was effected but the game was delayed, and Lara’s action was criticised by the commentators and former players. Lara was summoned by the match referee to give an explanation of his actions but he was not fined.
Dhoni scored two centuries in Sri Lanka’s tour of India in 2009, a series of three matches in which he led India to a 2–0 victory. With this feat, India soared up to the number one position in Test cricket for the first time in history. India scored 726–9 (decl) in the third match of this series, which was their highest Test total then.
He played his last series in the 2014–15 season in India’s tour of Australia captaining India in the second and third tests; losing the second and drawing the third, trailing the series 2–0 before the Sydney Test. Following the third Test in Melbourne, Dhoni announced his retirement from the format. In his last Test, he effected nine dismissals (eight catches and a stumping), and in the process, went past Kumar Sangakkara in the record for stumpings with 134 (in all three formats combined). He also set a record for effecting the most dismissals in a match by an Indian wicketkeeper until it was broken by Wriddhiman Saha in 2018. He finished his last innings unbeaten making 24 runs.
Dhoni was a part of India’s first-ever Twenty20 international match. He made debut against South Africa in December 2006. He was out for a duck but India won the match. He kept the wickets and effected one catch and a runout.
On 12 February 2012, Dhoni made an unbeaten 44 to guide India to their first win over Australia at Adelaide. In the final over, he hit a monstrous six which travelled 112 meters off the bowling of Clint McKay. During the post-match presentation, he described this six as more important than the one he hit during the ICC World Cup final in 2011.
He was named as captain and wicketkeeper of the ‘Team of the Tournament’ for the 2014 T20 World Cup by the ICC.
2007 ICC World Twenty20
MS Dhoni was chosen to lead India in first-ever World T20 in 2007. He made his captaincy debut against Scotland but the match was washed off. Thereon, he led India to the ICC World Twenty 20 trophy in South Africa, with a victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in an intensely fought final on 24 September 2007, and became the second Indian captain to have won a World Cup in any form of cricket, after Kapil Dev.
Retirement from international cricket
Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket on 15 August 2020 on the day of India’s 74th independence. He did so by posting a video on Instagram that contained pictures from both the best and the worst moments of his career with the song Mai Pal do Pal ka Shayar Hoon playing in the background. The video had been captioned as “Thanks a lot for ur love and support throughout.from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired”.
In November 2020, Dhoni was nominated for the ICC Men’s ODI Cricketer of the Decade award.
Captain of India
Dhoni was named the captain of Indian squad for the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 held in South Africa in September 2007. India were crowned champions as Dhoni led the team to victory against Pakistan in a thrilling contest. He went on to become the ODI captain of the Indian team for the seven-match ODI series against Australia in September 2007. He made his debut as full-time Test captain of India during the fourth and final Test against Australia at Nagpur in November 2008, replacing Anil Kumble who was injured in the third test and who then announced his retirement. Dhoni was vice-captain in this series up to that point. India eventually won that Test, thus clinching the series 2–0 and regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Dhoni had previously captained India on a stand-in basis against South Africa and Australia, in 2008 and 2009 respectively.
It was under his captaincy that India climbed to No. 1 in the ICC Test Rankings in December 2009. After that, India had clean sweep victories against Bangladesh and Australia. The series against South Africa, who are considered one of the best touring teams in the world, was drawn 1–1. India also came close to defeating South Africa in South Africa in early 2011 before Kallis’ twin hundreds ensured that the series ended at 1–1.
After winning the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup final against Sri Lanka on 2 April 2011, with his match-winning knock of unbeaten 91, Tendulkar heaped praises on Dhoni, claiming him to be the best captain he has played under. Tendulkar mentioned that it was Dhoni’s calm influence that was rubbing off on all his teammates and described Dhoni’s handling of pressure as incredible.
Only eleven players have captained ten or more Tests playing as a wicket-keeper. Dhoni leads the table with 60 Tests as captain, 35 ahead of Mushfiqur Rahim in second place.
In March 2013, Dhoni became the most successful Indian Test captain when he eclipsed Sourav Ganguly‘s record of 21 victories from 49 Tests. Ganguly also said in an interview to a news channel that Dhoni is the all-time greatest captain of India and he has a great record to support this credential.
In June 2013, India won 2013 ICC Champions Trophy under Dhoni’s captaincy, beating England by five runs in the final, after a semi-final victory over Sri Lanka and defeating South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan in the group stages.
In August 2016, Dhoni was selected as captain for India’s first tour to the United States, where India played two T20Is against the West Indies in Lauderhill, Florida. India lost the first match on 27 August 2016, during which Dhoni surpassed former Australian captain Ricky Ponting to become the most experienced captain in international cricket. During 2018 Asia Cup in India’s last Super Four match, against Afghanistan, captain Rohit Sharma and vice-captain Shikhar Dhawan were both rested for the match. He was named the captain of the side in their absence, and became the first cricketer to lead India 200 times in ODIs.
As captain of the Indian cricket team, Dhoni has seldom been suspended due to his team’s slow over-rate. In December 2009, he was suspended for two ODI matches against Sri Lanka by ICC match referee Jeff Crowe as India was three overs short of the specified rate; Virender Sehwag acted as captain for the two matches in Cuttack and Kolkata. In January 2012 Dhoni was banned for the fourth Test match against Australia in Adelaide as India was two overs short during the third Test in Perth. Sehwag captained the team in the Adelaide test and Wriddhiman Saha kept the wickets. In the CB Series in February, Dhoni again faced a one-match ban for slow over rate against Australia.
Dhoni has captained India in two World Cups. Under his captaincy, India won the World Cup in 2011 and reached the semifinals in 2015.
2007 Cricket World Cup
Dhoni played his first ODI World Cup in 2007 in the Caribbean. India made an early exit from the tournament in the Group Stage. In 2007 Cricket World Cup, India was placed in Group B with Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bermuda. Rahul Dravid captained the team in this World Cup. In three matches India played, they managed to win only one against Bermuda while losing the rest from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. In their first match against Bangladesh, India was all out in just 191 in 49.3 overs. Dhoni was out for 0. He stumped Tamim Iqbal, Shakib Al Hasan and captain Habibul Bashar in the match but, India lost by 5 wickets. In the next match against Bermuda, India posted the then Highest Score in the World Cup 413/5 in a must-win match. Dhoni scored 29 off 25 Balls which includes Two 4s and One 6. India won the match by 257 runs. India was required to win their last group match against the Lankans, but they lost by 69 runs. Chasing the target of 255, India crumbled to 185 all out in 43.3 overs. Dhoni was dismissed for 0 for the second time in the tournament, off his first ball by Muttiah Muralitharan. Thus, India was out of the world cup in the first round. The Team was heavily criticized for its performance. Dhoni’s under-construction house in Ranchi was attacked by some 200 fans after the Bangladesh loss.
2011 Cricket World Cup
Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India won the 2011 World Cup. In the final against Sri Lanka, chasing 275, Dhoni promoted himself up the batting order, coming before an in-form Yuvraj Singh. When he came to bat, India needed more than six runs per over with three top-order batsmen already dismissed. He started building a good partnership with Gautam Gambhir. Due to good strokeplay and active running between wickets, they kept up with the required run rate. Dhoni was on 60 off 60 balls but later accelerated with a greater frequency of boundaries, ending with 91 not out off 79 balls. Befitting the occasion, he finished the match off in style with a huge six over long-on off bowler Nuwan Kulasekara and won the Man of the Match award. Later in the post-match presentation, he admitted that he came up the order so as to counter the Muralitharan spin threat, as he was very familiar with Murali’s bowling, who was his teammate in the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings. He had come after the dismissal of Virat Kohli, also a right-handed batsman. By partnering with the left-handed Gambhir, he ensured a right-left combination at the crease that makes it difficult for bowlers to settle into a rhythm.
The bat used by Dhoni in the final match was sold for ₹ 72 Lac. The money goes to Sakshi Rawat Foundation, operated by Dhoni’s wife Sakshi Rawat to help orphan children.
2015 Cricket World Cup
For the 2015 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand, Dhoni was named the captain of the 30-member squad by the BCCI in December 2014. Under his captaincy, India was able to go through to the semi-finals with ease, beating Bangladesh in the quarter-finals. However, they lost to host Australia in the semi-finals held at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The team won 7 consecutive matches in this world cup and won 11 consecutive matches overall in world cups. With the win against Bangladesh, he became the first non-Australian captain to win 100 ODI matches, and the first Indian captain to achieve the mark. He is also the third captain to win 100 matches, after two Australians, Ricky Ponting, and Allan Border.
2019 Cricket World Cup
Dhoni was named in the 15-man squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup held in England and Wales. Dhoni scored some handy knocks in the tournament against South Africa, Australia, and West Indies, although he was criticised for his strike rate and ‘lack of intent’ in the match against Afghanistan and England. In the semi-final against New Zealand, Dhoni scored a fighting half-century in the second innings but was unfortunately run out at a crucial stage thus ending India’s World Cup run.
Indian Premier League
Dhoni was contracted by the Chennai Super Kings for US$1.5 million. This made him the most expensive player in the IPL for the first season auctions. Under his captaincy, Chennai Super Kings won the 2010 and 2011 and 2018 Indian Premier League titles and the 2010 and 2014 Champions League T20 titles.
After the suspension of CSK for two years, he was bought by Rising Pune Supergiant for US$1.9 million in 2016, and was named captain. However, his team finished in 7th place. In 2017, his team reached the final, where they lost to Mumbai Indians.
In the 2018 IPL season, Chennai Super Kings returned to IPL, and Dhoni was again selected to lead the franchise. Dhoni scored 455 runs in the tournament and led his side to their third IPL title.
In the 2019 IPL, Dhoni again captained CSK, which emerged to be one of the strongest teams in the season. Dhoni was the leading run-scorer for the team, which included 3 fifties – 75* and 58 against RR in winning causes and 84* against RCB in a losing cause, in which CSK lost by a run.
Dhoni is a right-handed batsman and wicket-keeper. Initially, Dhoni appeared as a lower-order attacking batsman but he gradually changed his playing style to deal with high-pressure scenarios and his growing responsibility as a captain. He is a powerful hitter of the ball and is one of the fastest men in running between the wickets. He made use of the helicopter shot technique, taught to him by was fellow player and childhood friend Santosh Lal.
His wicket-keeping skill is widely praised by cricket experts. He is quickest when it comes to stumpings. He has a world record for the highest number of stumpings by any wicket-keeper. He is the main wicket-keeper in the team but he occasionally bowls as a medium-fast bowler.
Dhoni married Sakshi Singh Rawat, his schoolmate in DAV Jawahar Vidya Mandir, Shyamali. a native of Dehradun, Uttarakhand, on 4 July 2010. At the time of their marriage, she was studying hotel management and was working as a trainee at the Taj Bengal, Kolkata. After the retirement of Sakshi’s father from his tea growing business, their family shifted to their native place, Dehradun
The wedding took place one day after the couple got engaged. According to Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu, a close friend of Dhoni, the wedding was planned for months and was not a spur of the moment decision. Dhoni became a father on 6 February 2015 to a baby girl named Ziva. At the time of her birth, Dhoni was in Australia as the captain of Indian team with 2015 Cricket World Cup only a week to kick off. He decided not to travel back to India and was famously quoted saying that “I am on national duty, other things can wait”
- Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India topped the Test cricket rankings for the first time, in 2009.
- Dhoni is the most successful Indian Test captain with 27 Test wins, eclipsing Sourav Ganguly‘s record of 21.
- Dhoni has the most overseas Test defeats by an Indian captain, with 15.
- Dhoni is the first Indian wicket-keeper to complete 4,000 Test runs.
- Dhoni’s 224 against Australia in Chennaiis the third 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. It was also the highest score by a wicket-keeper–captain beating Englishman Alec Stewart‘s 164.
- Dhoni’s maiden century against Pakistan in Faisalabad(148) is the fastest century scored by an Indian wicket-keeper, and fourth overall.
- After hitting a six in the third Test against England in Southampton, Dhoni completed 50 sixes as a captain, an Indian record.
- Dhoni, with 294 dismissals in his career, ranks first in the all-time dismissals list by Indian wicket-keepers.
- Dhoni shares the record for most dismissals in an innings (6, with Syed Kirmani) and in a match (9) by an Indian wicket-keeper.
- Dhoni is third captain (and the first non-Australian) overall to win 100 games.
- Fourth Indian to reach 10,000 ODI runs after Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly& Rahul Dravid and also the second wicket-keeper to reach the milestone.
- First player to pass 10,000 runs in ODI cricket with having a career average of over 50.
- Dhoni has the fifth highest batting average (51.09), among cricketers with more than 5,000 runs and the second highest batting average among players with an aggregate of over 10,000 runs.
- Most career runs in ODI history when batting at number 6 position (4031)
- Only player to score more than one hundred in ODI cricket when batting at number 7 position or lower (Dhoni has 2 centuries at number 7).
- Most not outs (82) in ODIs.
- First Indian and fifth overall to hit 200 sixes in ODIs.
- Dhoni’s 183*against Sri Lanka in 2005 is the highest score by a wicket-keeper.
- Dhoni’s 113 against Pakistan in Chennai in 2012 is the highest by a captain batting at number 7.
- Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumarwere involved in a partnership of 100 not out against Sri Lanka, which is India’s highest eighth wicket partnership in ODIs.
- Most unbeaten innings and highest average (among batsmen with more that 20 such innings) in successful ODI run-chases.
- Holds the record for playing the most matches in ODI history as captain who has also served as a wicket-keeper(200)
- Dhoni holds the records of the most dismissals in an innings (6) and career (432) by an Indian wicket-keeper.
- Dhoni has the most stumpings (120) by any wicket-keeper in an ODI career and is so far the only keeper to pass 100 stumpings
- First Indian wicket-keeper to take 300 ODI catches and fourth wicket-keeper in the world to achieve the feat.
- Most wins in T20Is as captain (41)
- Most matches as captain in T20Is(72)
- Most matches in T20I history as both captain and wicket-keeper (72)
- Most consecutive T20I innings without a duck (84).
- Dhoni holds the record for playing the most T20I innings (76) and scored the most runs(1,153) before scoring a fifty.
- Most dismissals as wicket-keeper in T20Is (87)
- Most catches as wicket-keeper in T20Is (54)
- Most stumpings as wicket-keeper in T20Is (33)
- Most catches as wicketkeeper in a T20I innings (5)
International records (combined ODI, Test and T20I)
- He has played the most international matches as captain (332)
- Dhoni is the first, and so far only, wicket-keeper to effect 150 stumping dismissals across the three forms of the game. His current total of stumpings in internationals stands at 161.
In February 2016, Dhoni launched lifestyle brand SEVEN. Dhoni owns the footwear side of the brand and is also the brand ambassador of SEVEN. In 2019, Dhoni invested in CARS24 and simultaneously became brand ambassador of the company.
A biographical film based on the life of Dhoni, titled M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, was released on 30 September 2016.
In 2019, Dhoni Entertainment entered into a long-term business agreement with Banijay Asia to produce content in various genres. The first show developed was a documentary web series, titled Roar of The Lion, about the comeback of the Chennai Super Kings to lift the 2018 Indian Premier League starring MS Dhoni in the lead role. The web series is the biggest ever release through the platform of Hotstar Specials and started its online streaming from 20 March 2019.
In 2011, Dhoni was conferred the rank of honorary lieutenant-colonel in the Indian Territorial Army for his contribution in cricket. In August 2019 he completed a two-week stint with the Territorial Army in Jammu and Kashmir.
Awards and achievements
- 2018: Padma Bhushan, India’s third-highest civilian award.
- 2009: Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award.
- 2007–08: Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest honor given for achievement in sports.
- ICC ODI Player of the Year: 2008, 2009
- ICC World ODI XI: 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 (captain in 2009, 2011–2014)
- ICC World Test XI: 2009, 2010, 2013
- Castrol Indian Cricketer of the Year: 2011
- ICC Men’s ODI team of the decade: 2011 – 2020 (captain and wicketkeeper)
- ICC Men’s T20I team of the decade: 2011 -2020 (captain and wicketkeeper)
- ICC Spirit of the cricket award of the decade: 2011 – 2020
Other honours and awards
- MTV Youth Icon of the Year: 2006
- LG People’s Choice Award: 2013
- Honorary doctorate degree by De Montfort Universityin August 2011
- CNN-News18 Indian of the Year: 2011
In popular culture
A movie was made based on Dhoni’s life, from his childhood to the 2011 Cricket World Cup, titled M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story, with Sushant Singh Rajput in the titular role. Another web series centered on his life and his times with the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League aired on Hotstar on 20 March 2019, titled Roar of the Lion.