Happy birthday Mahendra Singh Dhoni, that is exactly what the entire nation is wishing their most successful captain ever as he ticks another year and turns 36. Hailing from the backwaters of cricket, Jharkhand, the rise was never easy for him. He did not belong to a plush family as well, to make matters worse, but he fought all odds to reach the pinnacle in the world of cricket. He grew with every match and what really saw him prosper was his street-smartness. He always possessed a sharp brain which came in handy when he batted or kept wickets.

He made his One Day International debut way back in 2004 against Bangladesh, a match where he did not get a run, but soon came into prominence with a belligerent 100 against Pakistan and the nation straightaway knew they had found a new hero. He topped that one with a swashbuckling 183 against Sri Lanka. Soon captaincy came calling in the aftermath of India’s early exit from the 2007 Cricket World Cup. He was asked to lead a team which still had seniors in it, but he took India to victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007 and as they say the rest is history. His success meant he was soon made the captain of India in all the three formats. Under his leadership we won all the ICC tournaments, he also guided team India to the No. 1 spot in Tests.

But, earlier his rise and growing up years were not so hunky-dory and hence his tale is an intriguing one.

So, in this article we will look back at 10 lesser-known facts about the Ranchi rambo:

  1. MS Dhoni excelled at badminton and football before realising his real potential and took up cricket full-time. He was a district level player in both badminton and football.
  2. MSD was a damn good goalkeeper before he was spotted by his coach Keshav Banerjee, who spotted talent in the goalkeeper and persuaded him to take up the wicketkeeping gloves.
  3. The wicketkeeper-batsman was a Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) at Kharagpur railway station from 2001 to 2003, under South Eastern Railway in Midnapore. He was briefly also posted at BNR, Garden Reach.
  4. He faced early rejection when he was not selected for the East Zone team in 2004, which went on to win the Deodhar Trophy. He was not picked because they felt he had a very unconventional way of playing.
  5. MSD’s love for bikes is a known secret. Dhoni owns bikes such as the Yamaha RD350, Harley Davidson Fatboy, Ducati 1098, Kawasaki Ninja H2 and the super exclusive Confederate Hellcat X132.
  6. The iconic Dhoniesque ‘helicopter’ shot was perfected during tennis ball cricket and it was taught to him by his friend Santosh Lal.
  7. Dhoni is the only captain in world cricket to win all three ICC trophies – 2007 World T20, 2011 World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy. Thats a rare feat.
  8. Dhoni is the third captain in world cricket to win more than 100 ODI matches after Australia’s Ricky Ponting and Allan Border. That is a prestigious league to be a part of.
  9. Dhoni also holds the record for playing the most number of international matches as captain (331). That is a helluva lot of matches.
  10. He has hit the maximum number of international sixes as a captain (204). Overall he hast hit 322 sixes so far and is fifth on the list led by former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi (476).