Striking It Big | Verve Magazine
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January 15, 2006

Striking It Big

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena. Photograph by Mohit Khanna

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Team India’s aggressive wicketkeeper-batsman, revels in hitting the balls hard across the boundary lines

Young and powerful, he’s top of the list of upbeat players who have powered their way into ‘Team India’. The newly inducted wicketkeeper-batsman, with his rugged physique and long locks, is fast becoming the latest poster boy of Indian cricket. At first glance, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (‘Mahi’ to family and friends) seems to lack the suave sophistication of his team mates, but his on-pitch success has swiftly turned him into the ad world’s new mascot, with brands like Exide, Pepsi and Reebok already under his belt.

Twenty-four-year-old Dhoni, whose blade loves to notch up high scores, is making a mark in ODIs and in the five-day version of the game too. Jharkhand’s most eligible bachelor and also the first cricketer to don the Indian cap from the region, Dhoni (the youngest of three siblings) – “I was always a quiet kid in school” – did rather well in studies till the tenth when cricket took over completely. Though always passionate about cricket, he was also into a variety of sports – football included, where he played as a goalkeeper: who knows, he may have metamorphosed into India’s answer to Oliver Kahn if the world of cricket had not beckoned!

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