The Helicopter Man

The journey of Mahendra Singh Dhoni from a Ticket Collector to the Captain of the Indian Cricket Team


From being interested in football and Badminton during his school days at DAV Jawahar Vidya Mandir and having played football up to the state level, Mahendra Singh Dhoni switched to playing cricket much later in his life at the insistence of his football coach.

Starting his cricketing career at club level with a local cricket club in Ranchi called the Commando Cricket Club, his journey from leaving a settled government job as a Train Ticket Collector with Indian Railways to the Captain of the Indian Cricket team, has been nothing short of being spectacular.

Dhoni began his first class career in cricket with the Vinoo Mankad Under-16 championship in the 1997-98 season, which attracted the attention of the selectors to be inducted into the U-19 squad of his state in the very next season.


After being selected to the Bihar Ranji Trophy team in the 1999-00 season based on his stellar domestic performances, it required a wait of almost four years to be selected to the India-A team to tour Kenya in a tri-series involving Pakistan too in 2003 where he scored decently including two back to back centuries against the arch rivals.

MSD soon earned a place in the national team, being selected for the ODI squad for the Bangladesh tour in 2004-05. Being run out for a duck on his debut, he scored his first ODI century in his fifth match against Pakistan, a match winning performance.


Being able to score only mediocre international runs till the 2007 World Cup which included two ducks, Dhoni bounced back into form being made the captain of the Indian T-20 team at a time when no senior players were ready to take up the responsibility and immediately made his mark leading the team to win the inaugural T-20 World Cup.


Having cemented his place in the team based on impressive performances, Dhoni was soon made the captain of the Indian ODI team in 2007 and soon after, the captain of the Test team too in 2008 following the resignation of Anil Kumble as captain.


Before stepping down first as the captain of the test team in 2014-15 announcing his retirement from that form of cricket and then as captain of the ODI and T-20 team handing over the mantle to his deputy Virat Kohli in January 2017, MSD remains the most successful captain that India ever had, leading the country to 27 Test match victories in 60 Tests, 107 ODI wins in 194 ODIs and 40 T20 wins in 70 T20s as captain.

Dhoni could not have got anyone other than Virat Kohli as his worthy successor and the tweet by Kohli acknowledging the greatness of his captain proves it much beyond any other words.


The various milestones that Mahendra Singh Dhoni crossed during his illustrious career are uncountable but if we can sum up the achievements of #TheHelicopterMan in a few snippets, here it is:

  • India reached the position of No.1 in the ICC Test Rankings for the first time with him as the Captain.
  • India won the T20 World Cup, the first international tournament in which he was made the captain for the first time.
  • India won the ODI World Cup in 2011 with him as the Captain, the second time ever, after a gap of 28 years.
  • He is the only captain in the world to have won the T20, The ODI and the Champions Trophy for his country.
  • He is only the third captain in the world to have captained their teams for more than 300 ODIs.
  • He is the third captain in the world to have won more than 100 ODIs.
  • The highest test score for India in an innings of 726 for 9 declared was achieved under his captaincy against Sri Lanka.
  • He has the record of the highest runs in the second innings of an ODI when he scored 183 not out.
  • In this innings of 183 not out, he had hit 10 sixes, the maximum sixes by any Indian in a single innings of an ODI.
  • He is the highest scoring wicketkeeper captain in the world.
  • He is the wicketkeeper to have captained his country more than anyone in the world.
  • He is the most successful Indian captain, with 27 test wins.
  • His highest test score of 224 is the best by any Indian captain.
  • When he made it to the No.1 in the ICC World ODI ranking, he was the second batsman ever to do that.
  • He holds the record for the highest number of stumping in the world in tests with 134 stumping.
  • He holds the record for the maximum number of dismissals by an Indian wicketkeeper.
  • He is the first Indian wicketkeeper to have five dismissals in an innings in test cricket.
  • He holds the record jointly with Adam Gilchrist to have five dismissals in an innings, the only two wicketkeepers in the world to have achieved the feat.
  • He is the youngest wicketkeeper in the world to have completed the double of 4000 runs and 100 dismissals in test cricket.
  • He is the only wicketkeeper in the world to have taken a test wicket when he took the wicket of Travis Dowlin of West Indies.


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