A fierce competitor on the field, MS Dhoni is considered one of the nicest guys off it. While he will be mostly remembered for those towering sixes and taking India to victory from seemingly hopeless situations on numerous occasions when he finally decides to hang up his boots, his special gestures, both on and off the field, would also evoke fond memories of him.
While one of the most successful and top earning sportspersons of the world, MS Dhoni’s popularity stems not only from his exploits between the 22 yards but also his grounded nature and humane and noble gestures.
Dhoni’s gesture left Ganguly surprised
There’s perhaps no better illustration of this than what happened in former India captain Sourav Ganguly‘s final test against Australia at Nagpur in 2008.
In appreciation of Ganguly’s golden stint as India skipper, MS Dhoni, who was captain at the time, let the former call the shots on the field for 3 or 4 overs.
Though initially surprised, Ganguly later acknowledged that the gesture bowled him over. Speaking to India opener Mayank Agarwal recently, Ganguly, who is currently the India cricket boss, said he doesn’t remember what he did in those 3-4 overs but that gesture by Dhoni, itself, took him by surprise.
“My last Test match in Nagpur. It was the last day, last session. I was walking down the steps at the Vidarbha Stadium. They (his teammates) stood beside me and allowed me to enter the ground,” Sourav Ganguly recalled.
Only a handful of overs were left in the day when Dhoni asked Ganguly to lead the show.
“That (handing over the captaincy baton) was a bit of a surprise. I didn’t expect it. But MS Dhoni being MS Dhoni, he is full of surprises like his captaincy. We were winning the Test match and my mind was on retirement. I don’t know what I did in those 3-4 overs,” the former India skipper said.
A ceremonial guard of honour apart, Ganguly’s final test ended on a fairly memorable note as he scored 85 in the first innings.
When MS Dhoni cancelled a team visit
Another of MS Dhoni’s special, heartwarming gestures was shared on Thursday by former India coach and South Africa opener Gary Kirsten. The latter became the India coach in 2008 and enjoyed a good working relationship with Dhoni.
Heaping praise on Dhoni, Kirsten said, “One of the most impressive people I’ve met, he is a great leader of people, he’s got incredible presence as a leader, but the most important thing is that he’s loyal.”
Opening up on the incident, which bears ample proof of how Dhoni saw the support staff as his own, Kirsten said MS Dhoni once cancelled a team visit to a Bengaluru flight school as it denied entry to the India coach and his South African backroom staff, citing security reasons.
“I’ll never forget, just before the World Cup, we were invited in Bengaluru to go to a flight school, to go and kind of had a look at that. Obviously, we had a couple of foreigners in our support staff, and we got word back on the morning before the whole team was meant to go – and everyone was looking forward to the event – that the three South Africans, myself, Paddy Upton and Eric Simmons, weren’t going to be allowed into the flight school as it was seen as a potential security risk,” Kirsten recalled.
“So MS cancelled the whole event. He said these are my people. If they’re not allowed in, none of us are going. And that was what he was about,” he said.
These instances apart, Dhoni doesn’t mind being mobbed wherever he goes and readily obliges his fans with selfies and autographs.
Hence, long after Dhoni finally decides to step away from the game, his legacy will live on through his exploits and gestures.