About The Book
Mahendra Singh Dhoni's rise has been phenomenal to say the least. Very few would have captured the hearts of so many in such a short span of time. From the backwaters of cricket to one of the top names on the international circuit is a journey that is inspiring thousands to take to the game with all seriousness.
This book traces Dhoni's career from the early years in Ranchi, his struggles as well as the strokes of good fortune. It is an attempt to bring to light the development of a career, going beyond just statistics and scoreboards. The book is lent perspective not just by the author, who has seen Dhoni transcend from obscurity to fame, but also by those who played a role in helping him grow as a cricketer.
It is an endeavour to take readers close to their hero without eulogising him. The book has several details and anecdotes that have neither been read or heard of before. The author visited the hometown of the 'rock star of Indian cricket' to get an idea of his character and attitude and how his career was shaped.
The book also has several rare photographs and important statistics that add colour and depth to the narration.
C. Rajshekhar Rao is an acclaimed name in sports journalism. He has reported on various sports disciplines since the early 1990s, but cricket has been his forte.
Rao has worked for leading media groups like The Hindu and Agence France Presse (AFP), and is presently employed with the Daily News and Analysis (DNA) newspaper. His column 'Snicks and Swingers' during his stint as Editor of Cricketnext.com was widely appreciated.
His cricket assignments include matches of the 1996 World Cup and the 2007 Twenty20 World Championship apart from a number of Test matches and One Day Internationals in India and overseas. He has been a journeyman on the domestic circuit for a number of years.
Rao also dabbles in fiction. His book 'India Beckons and Other Stories', published in 2006, was a criticially applauded work.
When C. Rajshekhar Rao asked me to write a foreword for this book on Mahendra Singh Dhoni I was really delighted. Writing a foreword is certainly not my forte but in Dhoni's case I loved it simply because I see so much of my cricket in him.
I am a fan of Dhoni. He has given a new dimension to the way we approach the game. His confidence is infectious and I have seen how the team has grown into such a compact combination under his leadership.
His brilliant captaincy was so very evident at the T20 World Cup in South Africa when he scripted such a fascinating triumph. I felt so proud that day when the young team was accorded an astounding welcome in Mumbai. Dhoni truly was the chief architect of that great achievement. Dhoni's services to Indian cricket have come at the most appropriate time when some of the seniors are still around. The transition would be smooth and Dhoni is the ideal man to monitor it. Few cricketers have displayed a more courageous attitude and Dhoni perfectly signifies the modern Indian cricketer.
I would like to use this opportunity to make a request to Dhoni. Everyone can be his friend when he is doing well. And few would be his friends in difficult times. But he should remember that more than friendship and personal likes and dislikes, he must give priority to the country and the team's cause.
. Indian cricket has gained in stature from the contributions of greats like Sachin TenduLkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, V.V.S. Laxman and in the process a generation of youngsters were attracted to play the game. Dhoni has emerged the new icon for the game to thrive. You always need new heroes to take things forward and I am so happy to see Dhoni continue that tradition.
It is good to see that Dhoni has the support of some immensely gifted cricketers like Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh. I hope the next decade would have a similar leader for cricket to grow in India.
I am happy to see a book being brought out to document his meteoric rise in the world of cricket. Dhoni deserves it thoroughly and I am sure this would be the first among many on this awesomely talented cricketer.
I have known Rajshekhar as a bright and knowledgeable journalist and congratulate him for this effort. I wish him and the publisher success in this venture.
There is this player in Ranchi whose bat speed is to be seen to be believed. We have followed his fortunes right from his school days. He is surely one for the future." This comment from my brother-in-law was dismissed by me as the enthusiasm of one with a soft corner for those from his part of the country. Om Prakash was, anyway, not known for his cricket knowledge nor had the speed of the bat ever been a point of focus for me. After all, technique, timing, footwork and eyesight were what one looked for in a batsman!
But just a few years down the line, this cricketer was a fringe player and his bat speed had indeed become a talking point. The rest, like they say, is history. I had never imagined that I would be one day writing a book on Mahendra Singh Dhoni, but when I did start, enjoyed the benefit of my in-laws' domicile in that very part of Ranchi.
I had a fair idea of the colony where Dhoni lived through my wife Urmila. But my father-in-law, Munni Prasad, and elder brother-in-law Kamlesh Kumar not only put more light on the subjects that I touched but also helped me get in touch with people who could give perspective. I am thankful to them for that.
A lot of people have been quoted in this book and their views are very important, especially because this is not an authorised biography. I am indebted to all of them for sharing their views and anecdotes with me, especially Dhoni's first coach Keshab Ranjan Banerjee and former selectors Ashok Malhotra and Kiran More, who went out of their way to talk to me at length on the subject.
Dhoni's journey can't yet be considered a long one, but certainly has been eventful. From playing club cricket in Ranchi to leading the country, from a railway ticket collector to a manager with Air-India, from his 100 cc bike to a Hummer, show the contrasts between an ordinary cricketer and a successful one. It would not have been possible to add colour in this regard without the photographs provided by dear friends Kamal Sharma and Alok Gupta, cricketer-turned-politician Jitender Kumar Singh and respected photographer Suman Chattopadhyay of Kolkata.
As for the statistics, which form an important facet of cricket writing, there was no better man to provide the stuff than Rajneesh Gupta. I thank him for going about the task in his usual professional manner.
But above all, it is my colleague Vijay Lokapally who has to be thanked for being with me whenever I needed him. He guided me at every step and it became a lot easier for me to get in touch with people who really mattered in putting this story together. I could also rely on him to go through the manuscript.
I am also thankful to my employers, Daily News and Analysis (DNA), and my boss Ayaz Memon for not only giving me permission but also encouraging me to go ahead in this venture.
As for my journey in sports journalism, there have been many colleagues who have helped down the years. But there has been no bigger influence than KP Mohan of The Hindu. He is an institution in himself. If today I am able to tackle more disciplines in sports journalism than just cricket, it is only because of my stint under him.
This book is an attempt to go beyond scores and performances and look into the development of a cricketer and his early years, also taking the opportunity to throw some light on domestic cricket. I hope it is liked by readers.
Contents and Sample Pages
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