Just the other day when a longhaired, carefree and rather a laid-back individual broke into international cricket, we all thought of him as a cool-dude sort of figure. He had the power in his backhand, the thrust of force in personality- warm and affable- and above all- a winning smile.
That Mighty Hit
— BCCI (@BCCI) April 2, 2018
From Youthful Exuberance To Continuous Excellence
He went on from being this macho, goody-goody boy next-door sportsman into being a household name in the years thereafter. The smile, at times thought of a facade to hide internal turmoil, began giving company to an enormously cool outside texture, regardless of the game or the direction it would take.
Soon the long locks gave way to sober, shorter hair. The sixes had a new company, in becoming only as enthralling as that trademark helicopter shot, something that in the years hence has become a cult in international cricket, alongside the scoop of Dilshan or the swatting sweep of AB De Villiers.
But one thing that didn’t change or recede was MS Dhoni’s growing status in the cricketing-sphere as also in the country. It could be said buoyed by his match-winning abilities and the power to change the game during its concluding stages; Dhoni the legend has only grown.
Meet MS Dhoni Padma Bhushan
And now, it has got a stamp of national authority. In winning the prestigious Padma Bhushan, Dhoni has become what could be called a figure of national celebration. In England, upon being knighted, you are called a ‘national treasure’. In India, upon winning something as revered and celebrated as the Padma Bhushan, you become a national icon. It’s the mark of respect that you attribute to personalities who by the sheer impact of excellence rise to become a heroic figure.
Today, as MS Dhoni wins the Padma Bhushan award, 7 years upon the exact same date of winning the cherished 2011 World Cup title, there’s a reason for celebration. And also of some reckoning if it could be said.
What Lies In The Heart Of This Matchwinner?
Forget those blazing strokes, big sixes, and masterful wicketkeeping for a while. MS Dhoni’s journey from being once this ‘quintessential’ small town guy into becoming a figure of national intrigue amplifies a simple truth. One should never let go of one’s dreams. It highlights the fact that in sport- a stranger to xenophobia or biases against caste, color or creed- it’s about focus and determination. It’s about making most of the chances one gets. It’s about picking a leaf from the book of a farmer. Sow the seeds, be patient in watering and nourishing them. Take care of your plantations as if it were an extension of you. Be ready to cultivate a rich harvest.
Often in attributing success to Dhoni, his critics often remark his great fortune of being amid a team that boasted of world-class names. Sachin Tendulkar. VVS Laxman. Virendra Sehwag. Zaheer Khan. Rahul Dravid. But what we don’t understand or underrate is how beautifully Dhoni harbored a team that had its most iconic names struggling against fitness, being on the wrong side of the 30s.
Guiding A Young Side
What about the new crop of talent that came into its own under the watchful guidance of Dhoni? The Suresh Rainas, Ravindra Jadejas, Ravichandran Ashwins are contemporary game matchwinners who cut their teeth in international cricket under Dhoni’s guidance. It wasn’t tutelage. It was guidance. Today as a young generation aims to garner more glories for India, Dhoni is still his ever cheerful albeit staidly elegant self. He’s always next to Kohli and always around the team. Not only in moments of crisis as well as in the moments of great celebration.
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