MS Dhoni has gone through various avatars over the course of his career; from billowing mane to bald head, to funky Mohawk. Shiamak Unwalla looks at the timeline of Dhoni’s contrasting hairstyles.

Look 1: Long, brownish mane




When MS Dhoni made his One-Day International (ODI) debut for India in 2004, he sported a long, shaggy mane that was anything but cool. It was the kind of hair that was seen among youth from modest background in small towns of India. That hairstyle remained constant till around 2006.

But then came John Abraham (fresh from Dhoom fame) as a major influence in Dhoni’s life. They both shared a common love for long hair and fast bikes.


Look 2: Long, straight, and black




Around mid-2006, Dhoni’s tresses lost the mehendi brown colour, giving way to jet-black. The new straightened hair look could be seen in photos when he captained India for the first time in the ICC World T20 2007. That look continued in the ODI series against Australia that followed.


Look 3: Short, black, and unruly




Toward the end of 2007, Dhoni finally let go of his Samson-esque locks. India’s tour of Australia in 2007-08 saw the look which has remained more or less constant since. The chopping of the long hair symbolised a move towards adapting a more sober look.


Look 4: Short, cropped, with the first signs of grey




By the time India toured New Zealand in 2009, Dhoni had been captain for almost two years. In that time, India had a lot of success in all three formats. But the pressure and expectancy attached with an Indian captain slowly began to peep through with the occasional streak of grey in Dhoni’s otherwise black mop. This look — with minor variations — lasted till the ICC World Cup 2011 (by which point a few more grey hairs were added!) before his next major change.


Look 5: Completely bald




For a man whose flowing locks had prompted Pervez Musharraf to ask him never to chop them off, it must have been difficult to go completely bald. Apparently, Dhoni had promised to shave his head if India won the World Cup as an offering to a deity near his hometown of Ranchi. The look was not a permanent one though, as he let his hair grow back completely.

Look 6: Short, salt and pepper




By July 2011, his hair was back once again closely cropped. India endured a long and harrowing tour of England, at the end of which they had failed to win a game. Dhoni let his hair grow out completely so by the end of the tour his hair was longer — and a lot greyer — than it had been for a while.

Look 7: Short and grey




By the ICC Champions Trophy 2013, India had suffered a number of losses and were a far sight from the dominant world-beaters that lifted the World Cup only a couple of years ago. As a result, the occasional speck of grey hair became fully-fledged salt and pepper. Dhoni’s hair has remained grey since, while his beard seems more white than black.


Look 8: Uncharacteristic Mohawk




The CLT20 2013 saw a look completely at odds with what one would expect from the Indian skipper. Gone was the sober cropped hair; in its place was the most punk-like haircut sported by a cricketer in recent years. Dhoni completely shaved his head on all sides, while retaining a long streak of black hair from the middle of his forehead till the back of his neck. The look didn’t stay long, but it certainly showed an adventurous streak that had long been buried under the responsibility of leadership.


Look 9: Crew cut, salt and pepper




India’s tour of South Africa in 2013-14 saw a new look for the skipper. Whereas his hair used to be uniformly long or short, it was now markedly short from the sides and a bit longer on top, resembling a military haircut. The look didn’t last long though, and by the time India toured New Zealand, it was back to a more conventional look.


Look 10: “The Jar head” look




Dhoni raised a number of eyebrows recently when he visited his friend and hairstylist Sapna Bhawnani ahead of joining the 2014 Indian team in Australia by sporting what his known as “The jar head.”


( Shiamak Unwalla is a proud Whovian and all-round geek who also dabbles in cricket writing as a reporter with CricketCountry. His Twitter handle is @ShiamakUnwalla)