MSD turns 34. A Journey From Ticket Collector To India’s Most Successful Captain

MS Dhoni turns 34 today and birthdays are always special. The captain with the Midas touch had an eventful last year when he retired from Test cricket and led India to World Cup 2015 semis. But, this one is his first as a proud father and as a retired Test cricketer.

From the young dasher with long locks, Dhoni has evolved into this calm figure who has helped Indian cricket touch dizzying heights.

In his 34 years, Dhoni has touched upon and seized every accolade that could possibly ever come a cricketer’s way.

Let’s take a look at the decade-long journey and his achievements that speak of his contributions to the Indian cricket.

2004: Run out for a duck in his debut match

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Dhoni, a former Ticket Inspector with the Indian Railways blasted two centuries for India A in Nairobi in 2004. He did not have a great start to his ODI career, getting run out for a duck on debut.


2005: Highest score by a wicketkeeper-batsman

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Long-haired and fearless, he soon swaggered into international cricket scoring 148 against Pakistan and surpassing the earlier record for the highest score by an Indian wicket-keeper. However, his 183 not out against Sri Lanka in Jaipur later that year was even more brutal. It still remains the highest score by a wicketkeeper-batsman in ODIs.


2006: Number one in ODI ranking

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Due to his consistent ODI performances, Dhoni overtook Ricky Ponting as number one batsman in the ICC ODI Rankings.


2007: Won the inaugural ICC World T20 

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Dhoni led India to victory in the inaugural ICC World T20 in 2007. As the senior pros had opted out of the inaugural edition of the World T20 in South Africa, Dhoni was handed the reins with a young team at his disposal. No one expected India to lift the title. Dhoni was born as a captain.


2008: Won a test match for the first time

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Dhoni led a Test match for the first time in Anil Kumble’s absence. India beat South Africa within three days at Kanpur and in his first full series as captain, he led India to a 1-0 win over England.


2009: ICC ODI Player of the Year for the second time

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Dhoni had an excellent year in ODIs in 2009 scoring 1198 runs in just 24 innings at an astonishing average of 70.43 and was the top-scorer in ODIs. He led India to beat New Zealand for the first time in an ODI series on their home ground after 42 years.

Dhoni went on to win the ICC ODI Player of the Year for the second time in 2009.


2010: ICC  No. 1 Test Team

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India became the No. 1 Team in the ICC’s Test Rankings for the very first time and he was presented with the ICC Test Championship Mace for this achievement. His team CSK clinched the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Champions League T20 (CLT20) in 2010 to become the first team to complete the double with total success.


2011: ‘Dhoni finishes off in style and India wins the world cup after 28 years’

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He became the first Indian wicketkeeper to complete 200 dismissals in Tests. Syed Kirmani, who held the record earlier, had 198 dismissals to his credit, from 88 Tests. Dhoni surpassed the mark in only his 62nd Test.

And yes, the dream of a billion-strong nation was fulfilled. His innings of unbeaten 91 won India the ICC WORLD CUP and he fittingly won the game with a trademark six over long-on.


2012:  Highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket

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His best innings in the traditional format was the match-winning 224 that he scored against Australia at Chennai in 2012-13, which is still the highest score by an Indian wicketkeeper-batsman in Test cricket.


2013: Led India to victory at the ICC Champions Trophy

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Dhoni became the first Indian captain to win four Tests in a series, when India defeated Australia 4-0 to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and surpassed Sourav Ganguly’s tally of 21 wins as captain to become India’s most successful Test skipper ever.

Team India underwent a change in 2007 with the old guard making way for the new, but still he led a new-look side to victory at the ICC Champions Trophy 2013.


2015: Quit Test Cricket

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Dhoni left Test cricket, the way he entered. Quiet, understated and without any fuss.

The fact is, anybody can walk in as a captain. But only a few can walk out as a leader.

Here’s wishing India’s greatest captain ever ‘Captain Cool’ a year full of happiness and success.

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