Opinion | Mahi?s iconic innings
Cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the most admired man in India. After Narendra Modi, that is. According to a survey conducted by YouGov, Mahi, as the legendary former captain is popularly known, got an admiration score of 8.58%, behind only Modi’s 15.66%. Dhoni, known for his ungainly yet innovative “helicopter shot", has outscored current Indian captain Virat Kohli as well as industrialist Ratan Tata on the survey.
As India’s most successful cricket captain, Dhoni has legions of admirers. There is no single international trophy that India has not won under his leadership. Soon after taking over from Rahul Dravid, Dhoni led India to the 2007 ICC World Twenty20, beating arch-rival Pakistan in Johannesburg. He lifted the Asia Cup twice—in 2010 and 2016. The 2013 ICC Champions Trophy, where India beat England in the final, was a testament to Dhoni’s ability to shepherd his team to consistent success. However, his moment of crowning glory came in 2011, when Dhoni and his men got the better of Sri Lanka in the final of the ICC World Cup at Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium.
“Coolly does it" was his mantra, and it caught on. His cricketing exploits apart, Dhoni has lately been winning Indians over with his proud displays of patriotism. Visual and other expressions of solidarity with India’s armed forces, for example, have helped burnish his public image. As an honorary lieutenant-colonel in the Territorial Army, he even served a two-week assignment in Kashmir last month. All of this has led large numbers to overlook his endorsement of the scandal-hit real estate company Amrapali. The way he is going, it’s hard not to wonder: Might a post-cricket career be awaiting him?