7th Jul 1981
Chennai Super Kings, India
Mohammad Azharuddin was once famously referred to as Destiny’s Child. It would appear as if in Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the former Indian captain has excellent company. Dhoni’s rise from the cricketing outpost that Jharkhand used to be is the stuff of dreams. His uncomplicated batsmanship and effective if unpolished wicketkeeping, as much as his long locks, thrust him into the limelight during an ‘A’ tour of Kenya in 2004. Since then, Dhoni hasn’t looked back, and stands today as India’s most successful and celebrated captain. In his first stint at the helm, he steered a young side to the title in the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007. Once he became the Test captain after Anil Kumble retired in 2008, Dhoni took his team to the top spot in the Test rankings the following December, then secured his place in the pantheon with a bruising unbeaten 91 that helped India brush Sri Lanka aside in the final of the World Cup in 2011. Crushing defeats in England and Australia and the loss of the number one ranking have taken some sheen off Dhoni’s exploits, but through victory and defeat, he has been equanimous. His greatest asset has been his composure, be it during a tight run chase in a limited-overs game or when the opposition has been going hammer and tongs at India’s occasionally feeble bowling. Easily the most successful IPL captain, Dhoni is eyeing a hat trick of titles with Chennai Super Kings. His shrewd marshalling of not inconsiderable resources and his uncanny ability to get the best out of his men, as much as his ever evolving approach to batting, single him out as a leader most inspirational.