The world first saw Mahendra Singh Dhoni walk out on the field wearing the blue jersey on 23 December 2004, his international debut – an ODI against Bangladesh in Chittagong.
Since then, fans have seen him play 530 international matches, help his team cross the line in crunch situations, lead in all three formats and also complete a clean sweep of all three ICC trophies – World T20, World Cup, Champions Trophy. MS Dhoni scored over 17,000 runs in international cricket, more than 10,000 of those coming in ODIs, while his 91 in the final that led India to World Cup glory after 28 years remains one of his most memorable performances.
When he was dismissed for 50 in the semi-final against New Zealand at Old Trafford on Wednesday, 10 July, MS Dhoni grimaced as he walked back to the hut, perhaps knowing that that could have well been his last World Cup knock.
As we stare into a future where Mahi may announce the decision to put away the blue jersey for good, here’s a throwback to his younger days, with photos of the wicketkeeper-batsman with his friends, teammates and coach.
A young MS Dhoni (kneeling, third from right) with his school team after winning the Ranchi District Inter School cricket league.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni with his school team after winning a tournament.
(With inputs from Jay Shankar Kumar in Ranchi)