On This Day in 2016, MS Dhoni equaled Ricky Ponting record of most international matches as skipper. The former skipper with 332 matches now holds the world record of most matches as skipper. Coincidentally same day three years later he becomes the second most capped player after the little master.

The journey from backwaters of cricketing world to zenith of international cricket.

Jawahar Vidya Mandir Shyamali

Just before my debut, I was in Kenya. When I scored a century several people asked me where I belong to. When I said Ranchi, they said, okay, after partition your Mummy and Papa must have come to this side. I said not Karachi, Ranchi.

MECON Stadium

When Sairaj Bahutule led India A tour Kenya for triangular series in 2004 no one thought it will give India her finest skipper and gloveman. MS Dhoni’s first impact innings was against the arch-rivals Pakistan where he guided Indians to victory with stupendous 70 runs knock. The Pakistan team was lead by Misbah Ul Haq with Kamran Akmal donning the gloves. He didn’t get the opportunity to bat against Kenya as Bhandari and Bahutule skittled out host for a paltry score. Although he managed to effect five dismissals including one stumping. Once against Pakistan batting at first down MS smashed a century and put on 207 stand with opener Gambhir. MS love for Pakistan continued as he smashed match-winning 119 runs to chase down 235 runs target. He was awarded MOS for his superlative batting performance.

MS Dhoni7636212072.421
G Gambhir7732512254.1612

He was also at the top of table in terms of number of dismissal.

PlayerMatchesInnsDisCatchStumpMax DisDis/
MS Dhoni771613352.285
Kamran Akmal771211131.714
KO Otieno6644010.666

Let’s rewind his career back to first-class days to have a better picture of his growth.

He didn’t have the chance to bat in his debut List A, Ranji Trophy one day match against Assam at Keenan Stadium in 2000. The next day Bihar was to play against Assam, MS in his first-class debut match played a cameo of 40 runs in first inns followed by unbeaten 68 in second each studded with eight fours. The year was quite ordinary in the earlier part, in December at Calcutta Cricket and Football Ground, Calcutta he busted with 73 ball 84 against Tripura. The onslaught included 10 fours and 4 sixes.

5th January 2001, Eden Gardens MS Dhoni scored unbeaten 114 against Bengal, his first first-class century.

In December 2002 Polytechnic Institute Ground, Agartala he fought alone against Rohan Gavaskar lead Bengal. The very next match he registers his then highest list A score to guide Bihar to victory against Assam, then followed it with 74 runs knock against Orissa. The early next year he was the second most leading run-scorer in Deodhar Trophy for East Zone.

The 2003-04 Ranji Trophy he showed promise with bat and amassed 282 runs at an average of 94. The purple patch continued as he emerged as a leading run-scorer in 2003-04 Deodhar Trophy. On the backdrop of his consistent performance, he was selected for the Zimbabwe – Kenya tour.

The first match he played against Zimbabwe Select XI at Harare Sports Club he affected six dismissals in first inns followed by five in second inns. Zimbabwe was lead by keeper Tatenda Taibu .

“Same thing about his batting…different technique, but great hand-eye co-ordination. But I don’t think it’s only his hand-eye coordination (for batting that worked) but probably his mental toughness.

“Normally if you don’t look the part, so to speak, it’s easy for coaches to just put you aside. But Dhoni backs that (his unique style) up with statistics,” Taibu on Dhoni

The triangular tournament was followed by first-class matches between India A and Kenya. India tour of Kenya saw three wicketkeepers Dinesh Karthik, Naman Ojha, and MS Dhoni (Deep Dasgupta missed).

“Zimbabwe is a special place for me. The reason being, before playing for India, this was the tour (in 2004) which really gave me the chance to go into the limelight and get a chance to play for India. So it is a very special place for me. I have always enjoyed coming here.” MS

The Kenya Triangular Tournament bagged him Indian team cap. On 23rd December Dhoni and 2007, T20 final hero Joginder Sharma made their international debut. Bangladesh gloveman ran MS out for duck, remaining match he didn’t had much chance.

On returning to India he scored centuries in Deodhar and NKP Salve Challenger Trophy. He was selected for home series against Pakistan, the series which shaped his international career. The swashbuckling inns of 148 off 123 ball, Call of a legend. The series gave India a keeper who can score, prior to him India’s most potent ODI wicketkeeper-batsman was makeshift Rahul Dravid. The Indian Oil series, Videocon Tri-series register a couple of half-centuries.

Copyright © 2005 AFP

The next landmark series was against Sri Lanka where he amassed the then world record 346 runs most by any keeper in a bilateral series. It was the eve of Diwali but the celebration at Sawai Mansingh StadiumJaipur, India had already begun thanks to majestic knock by Dhoni. The way MS Dhoni destroyed Lankans and single-handedly chased down a target of 299 with utmost ease. Promoted by Rahul Dravid to bat on number three,to accelerate the run chase, what he did is now a history. Such was his aggression that he even outscored Virender Sehwag, not a normal sight. It is the highest score by a wicketkeeper in ODI history. At that time this was the highest score in the second innings the innings included 10 massive sixes and match ended in 46.1 over only. The art of finishing matches with six, which he does more often than not.

MS Dhoni was promoted to No.3 when he went on to smash an unbeaten 183 vs Sri Lanka. (Reuters file Photo)

The 2004-05 Pakistan established him as a proper wicket-keeper batsman in the Indian team and the rest is history.

Dhoni plays a shot during first ODI at Arbab Niaz Stadium, Peshawar, 06 February 2006.
(Picture: Copyright © 2006 AFP)

The world saw dawn of new era of Yuvraj and Dhoni. 2008 and 2009 ICC – International Cricket Council ODI Player of the year.

Yuvraj Singh & Mahendra Dhoni coming back to pavilion after victory during third ODI at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, 13 February 2006.
(Picture: Copyright © 2006 CricketArchive)

The emergence of Dhoni was an answer to the long term solution of a keeper who can bat. To see it in the context from 2000 onwards till Dhoni debut India tried as many as ten wicketkeepers including Rahul Dravid.

R Dravid2000-200467199842.51
PA Patel2002-20043380126.7
SS Dighe2000-20012939719.85
D Dasgupta2001-20021339526.33
A Ratra2002-20021825315.81
V Dahiya2000-20012121816.76
NR Mongia2000-2001510317.16
KD Karthik2004-200479814
SS Karim2000-200086412.8
MSK Prasad2000-2000184

MS Dhoni rise into international cricket gave Ranchi a place in international cricket map. 2013,39000 capacity stadium was inaugurated in Ranchi.

Ranchi, Jharkhand 18 January 2013 :: from left-JSCA President Amitabh Choudhary, Former Jharkhand CM Aarjun Munda, Jharkhand Governor Syed Ahmed, and BCCI Officials during inaugural ceremony of JSCA stadium in Ranchi on Friday. Photo-Ratan Lal

Some of the selected memories in pictures

2007 ICC T20 World Cup

INDIA – SEPTEMBER 26: A BCCI official garlands Indian Cricket team Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni after he received Stadium in a cheque of 8 Million rupees at a special celebratory function at Wankhede Mumbai 26 September 2007 – Thousands thronged the streets, braving monsoon rain to greet the cricketing heroes who lifted the inaugural Twenty20 world title against Pakistan in Johannesburg. ( Team India arrives with a victory parade from air port to Wankhede stadium in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, Cricket World Cup-2007 ) (Photo by Shriya Patil/The The India Today Group via Getty Images)

2011 ICC Cricket World Cup

MUMBAI, INDIA – APRIL 02: M.S Dhoni, captain of India hits the winning runs watched by Kumar Sangakkara captain of Sri Lanka to secure victory during the 2011 ICC World Cup Final between India and Sri Lanka played at Wankhede Stadium on April 2, 2011 in Mumbai, India. (Photo by Graham Crouch/Getty Images)

2013 ICC Champions Trophy

India’s cricketers Shikhar Dhawan (L), Mahendra Sing Dhoni (C) and Ravindra Jadeja pose for pictures with the ICC Champions Trophy in Birmingham, central England, on June 24, 2013, a day after beating England in a rain delayed final at Edgbaston. AFP PHOTO/Paul Ellis (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

2010 ,2011,2018 IPL – Indian Premier League Champions

CHENNAI, INDIA � JULY 9: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni being felicitated by the Madras Cricket Club for leading the Chennai Super Kings to victory in IPL season 3 on Friday, July 9, 2010.(Photo by HK Rajashekar/The India Today Group via Getty Images)

RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. MOBILE USE WITHIN NEWS PACKAGE Chennai Super Kings cricketers Michael Hussey (L) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C) react after the dismissal of Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Chris Gayle (R) during the IPL Twenty20 cricket final match between Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore at The M.A.Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on May 28, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Indranil MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)
Image courtesy iplt20.com

2010 and 2014 Champions League Twenty20

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA – SEPTEMBER 26: Mahendra Singh Dhoni of the Kings receives his winnings during the 2010 Airtel Champions League Twenty20 final match between Chennai Super Kings and Chevrolet Warriors from Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Duif du Toit/Gallo Images/Getty Images)
Image courtesy @AP

2009 Test Championship mace.

NEW DELHI, INDIA – DECEMBER 27: International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat, right, presents ICC test championship mace to Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in New Delhi, December 27, 2009. (Photo by K Asif/The India Today Group via Getty Images)

By Staff

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