MS Dhoni turns 33 on Monday © Getty Images
MS Dhoni turns 33 on Monday © Getty Images


Mahendra Singh Dhoni, born on July 7, 1981, has been hugely influential in India’s success since he came into the team in late 2004. His journey from obscurity to fame has inspired millions of Indians over the years. Nishad Pai Vaidya finds out some little-known facts about Dhoni on the occasion of his 33rd birthday.


Ten things you didn’t know about MS Dhoni:


1.       MS Dhoni’s rise to the highest level was not a smooth journey. Even after he made his Ranji Trophy debut at the age of 18 in 2000, he was still working as a Ticket Collector with the Indian Railways at the Kharagpur Railway Stadium in West Bengal. Dhoni worked there between 2001- 2003 while also playing his cricket.


2.     MS Dhoni did not drop out from school as is widely believed. In fact, passed his 10th board exams with a decent 66 per-cent.


3.     MS Dhoni was picked for India A as a reserve wicketkeeper behind Dinesh Karthik after a good performance in the 2003-04 domestic season. However, when India A left for its tour to Africa, Karthik was summoned to the senior Indian team. That allowed Dhoni an opportunity and he never looked back. In the tri-series against Pakistan A and Kenya, he smashed two hundreds — both against the former — that shot him to limelight. Gautam Gambhir was with Dhoni on that tour and they shared a partnership 169 runs in one of the games.


4.     MS Dhoni was given the honourary rank of Lt Colonel by the Indian Army in 2011. He later said that joining the army was one of his childhood dreams.


5.     MS Dhoni is obsessed with collection of motorbikes. The X132 Hellcat is one of the most notable bikes in Dhoni’s collection. That purchase made headlines as it is a bike owned by many celebrities. After India’s 4-0 win over Australia, Dhoni took the Hellcat for a ride on India’s only Formula 1 track — the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, near Delhi. It is believed Dhoni owns around 15 bikes.


6.     MS Dhoni owns a team in the FIM Supersport World Championship. He created this team in 2012 and named it MSD R-N Racing Team India. It was later named, Mahi Racing Team India, with Telugu actor A Nagarjuna also investing in the team.


7.     MS Dhoni has a few other business interests. He had earlier started a merchandise business in partnership with actor Dino Morrea. In 2009, there were reports that he was starting a multi-crore business partnership with Harbhajan Singh, his India teammate, but that did not materialise.


8.      MS Dhoni made the helicopter shot his trademark. The shot was taught to him by his friend, former Jharkhand cricketer Santosh Lal. Unfortunately, Lal passed away at a young age of 32 in 2013. Dhoni had arranged for his treatment in Delhi, but couldn’t save him.


9.      MS Dhoni was an employee for Air-India, whom he had joined to play cricket. He also played for them in the BCCI Corporate Trophy in 2009. Dhoni gave up his Air-India job in 2013, when he became the Vice-President of India cements.


10.   MS Dhoni’s wife, Sakshi (nee’ Rawat) was an intern at a hotel Kolkota’s five-star hotel Taj Bengal. In fact, as fate would have it, Dhoni and Sakshi’s father’s worked for MECON.


(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_45)