A Ticket Collector in 2001 becomes a World Cup Champion in 2011

Around 2001 - nearly a decade back – an young lad of 20 years was busy collecting tickets of passengers at the Kharagpur Railway Station in West Bengal and no one had evinced special interest in his duties except his own Divisional Railway Manager – Animesh Kumar Ganguly of South Eastern Railways – who  had spotted him while playing cricket in a Club match and took him to the Railway Sports Stadium. An avid cricketer himself, he had bowled about 60 balls to the bubbling youth and immediately reckoned him as a future talent and had him selected as a Ticket Collector in the Railway Department under  sportsman quota. Thanks to him, three years later, this youth donned the Indian cap in the One Day International against Bangladesh. Yes – your guess is spot on – The youth is none other than the present Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni – who made the dreams of the millions and millions of Indian people come true by lifting the prestigious World Cup in cricket at Mumbai on 2nd April 2011.

Born at Ranchi – the capital of Bihar (now Jharkhand)  in Uttaranchal, on 7th July 1981, Dhoni had his early schooling in DAV Jawahar Vidya Mandir in Shyamali – a colony of MECON where his father Pan Singh was working. Pan Singh had a colleague, who later moved to Dehradun but kept contact with his colleague. Their friendship later turned to relationship when Singh’s daughter Sakshi Rawat  got engaged to Dhoni  and subsequently married him on 4th July 2010.  Sakshi is a graduate of the Institute of Hotel Management from Aurangabad.

Dhoni  has got a mother (Devaki Devi), a sister (Jayanti) and a brother (Narendra) – Dhoni happens to be the youngest of the lot. Dhon is affectionately known as Mahi.

Dhoni has been the luckiest among all the Indian Captains. His luck can be attributed from the beginning. When everyone thought his career would flourish in either badminton or football – infact he was the goalkeeper in football team, but luck changed the scene when his football coach sent him to play cricket.  He was the regular wicket-keeper for Commando Cricket Club from 1995 to 1998. Dhoni never looked back from then on.

Dhoni entered the junior cricket tournament when he was selected to play in the Under-16 Championship for the Vinoo Mankad Trophy in 1997/98. He debuted in Ranji Trophy in 1999/00 for the then Bihar team.

A flamboyant hard hitting, attacking  and most destructive batsman by nature, Dhoni has, of late, softened his style of batting.  Dhoni often relishes on backfoot play. He has now become the popular ‘Cool Cool Captain’ of India.

Dhoni’s childhood heroes were Sachin Tendulkar (a dream come true of playing with him), the Bollywood’s greatest actor Amitabh Bacchan and the Nation’s topnotch singer Lata Mangeshkar.

When Dhoni started his cricket career, he had long hair but later trimmed it to short – to look alike his favourite actor John Abraham. However, he has now tonsured his hair to keep up his vow of doing so after winning the World Cup in 2011 – a glorious feat re-enacted after 1983 . Incidentally he had his long locks cut after he won the Twenty-20 World Cup in South Africa in 2007.

Dhoni’s earnings as model and as cricketer have reached a new high. As per Forbes, in 2011 Dhoni was acclaimed as the highest earning cricketer – his  earnings amounting to 10 million dollars a year – an unbelievable 5000 dollars per hour. His list of endorsements include Pepsico, Reebok, Exide, TVS Motors, Mysore Sandal Soap, Videocon, Bharat Petroleum, Titan Sonata, Brylcream, NDTV, Dabur Honey, Aircel and a host of others.  He has a variety of cars and motorcycles of his own.

No other Indian captain had earned so much popularity as the one by Dhoni. The fact that the former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly and the cricketing icon who also happens to be an Indian Captain – Sachin Tendulkar have heaped praise on Dhoni terming him as the greatest Indian captain they have ever seen.

Dhoni has the distinction of being the only Indian Captain in getting India to the top of the ICC rankings in Test and ODI at one time or other. He also has  the enviable record of leading India in all three international formats of the game – Twenty-20, Limited Over Internationals and Tests.

Dhoni is also recipient of many awards – notable being the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna – the highest sporting award by the Indian Government, which was conferred in 2008.

Dhoni has set up a spate of records which would remain for long. His innings of 183* on 31.10.2005 at Jaipur against Sri Lanka is the highest score by  any wicket keeper in an ODI. He slammed 10 sixes and 15 fours in that innings – which is again an ODI record for most sixes and fours in an innings by an Indian. He is also India’s leading wicket-keeper with most number of dismissals. Dhoni is the record holder for the fastest century by an Indian wicket-keeper in Tests – century in 93 balls during 148 against Pakistan at Faisalabad in 2005/06. He is the only Indian Captain to have won two World Cups.

Dhoni is also the captain of the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.


by C. Keshava Murthy


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