What Has MS Dhoni Been Up to Since Team India’s World Cup Exit?
Team India, under the talisman Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has achieved unprecedented success which will always be hard to emulate.
Dhoni began his stint as the captain winning the inaugural World T20 in 2007. Four years later, it was again under Dhoni that India were crowned champions at home in the 50-over World Cup. This was India’s second world triumph in the 50-over format.
In 2013, the wicketkeeper batsman added yet another feather to his cap. He became the first captain to win all three ICC tournaments after a successful Champions Trophy campaign in England.
After deciding to step down from captaincy, Dhoni continued to be an integral part of the team. His wicketkeeping skills continued to be second to none, but it was his batting that made noise – for all the wrong reasons.
A slowing strike rate was alarming and his critics weren’t kind. A mediocre 2019 World Cup campaign and India’s semi-final exit didn’t help the Ranchi-born cricketer. Eventually, ahead of the Windies tour in July, MS Dhoni decided to take a two-month sabbatical.
Tryst With the Indian Army
During India’s semi-final exit in the World Cup, MS Dhoni hit a half century, which went in vain as India lost to New Zealand by 18 runs. That knock was the last time we saw Dhoni grace the cricket ground for India.
The first thing that Dhoni did after India’s elimination was announce that he will be missing the tour against the West Indies so he could spend time with the 106 Territorial Army Battalion (Para). Dhoni was made an honorary Lieutenant Colonel after India’s 2011 World Cup triumph.
Dhoni’s 15-day stint with the army saw him carry out guard, patrolling and post duties. He served in the army from 30 July to 15 August.
New Additions to His Garage
Dhoni is known to be a huge automobile aficionado. He boasts over 22 bikes in his garage, with some powerhouses like the Confederate Hellcat X132 and a Kawasaki Ninja H2. His car collection is just as impressive as his cricketing records. Dhoni owns cars like the Ferrari 599 GTO and the Hummer H2.
While serving with the army, he added another powerhouse to the line-up in the form of a Red Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Along with the Jeep Cherokee, Dhoni had also added a rare Nissan Jonga earlier in October.
The Nissan Jonga was used by the Indian Army and has since been discontinued. The Jonga isn’t sold commercially or even to private buyers anymore, which means Dhoni has added another super rare car to his collection.
The Jonga was painted green and modified to meet Dhoni’s requirements.
After his stint in the army, Dhoni was spotted in Jaipur where he was seen attending an award function. He returned to Ranchi towards mid-September to spend time with his family. He was spotted leaving the airport in his aforementioned Jeep Cherokee.
He was also captured driving his new cars around Ranchi.
Dhoni was also spotted in the Indian dressing room in Ranchi on 22 October after the hosts completed a 3-0 whitewash over South Africa in the Test series.
Dabbling in Other Sports
Dhoni was spotted playing football with tennis legend Leander Paes and a few actors like Arjun Kapoor in Mumbai as part of a charity match organised by Rhiti Sports, the firm which manages Dhoni and Paes. Arjun Kapoor, Samir Kochhar and choreographer Caesar Gonsalves were among the celebrities that participated in the charity event.
Apart from football, Dhoni also played golf in the US with fellow Indian international Kedar Jadhav in August. He played his first amateur golf tournament in September at the Metuchen Golf and Country Club where he is an honorary member.
He was also seen playing billiards at the JSCA Stadium in Ranchi.
A Presidential Meeting
During President Ram Nath Kovind’s visit to Ranchi, the President hosted MS Dhoni for a dinner. Dhoni went over to the Raj Bhawan, accompanied by his wife Sakshi and daughter Ziva.
The President later took to Twitter to laud Dhoni, along with other Ranchi sportspersons like Jaipal Singh Munda – who captained the Indian hockey team to its maiden Olympic medal in 1928 – and Indian archer Deepika Kumari.
During his sabbatical, Dhoni continued to expand his business portfolio.
Dhoni had launched lifestyle brand SEVEN, and co-owned teams like Chennaiyin FC in the Indian Super League and Ranchi Rays of the Hockey India League. He also co-owns Supersport World Championship team Mahi Racing Team India.
Dhoni has, in the last two months, backed Cars24 during their D-round of funding. His contribution was undisclosed. Along with Cars24, Dhoni also partnered with MasterCard for a cashless initiative called ‘Team Cashless’.
Time With Rishabh Pant
The final notable moment from his sabbatical came very recently. While it is unknown when Dhoni will be returning to the national team, it seems like the selectors are ready to christen Rishab Pant his full-time successor.
Rishabh Pant shared a couple of pictures with the former India skipper on his social media pages. In the photos, Pant can be seen sitting with the MS Dhoni, along with his pet dogs.
Whether or not Dhoni will be returning to the national team anytime soon is unknown.
He is scheduled to practice with the Jharkand U-23 team to keep himself sharp. With his omission from the upcoming T20 series against Bangladesh, it is looking more and more likely that Dhoni’s career just may be nearing its end.
But it will be interesting to see that whether Dhoni returns to the Indian squad just in time for the 2020 World T20 in Australia.
It’ll be poetic to see him hold the T20 trophy aloft for his final hurrah, considering how he lifted the same trophy in 2007 to kick-start his dream career.