Decoding Mahendra Singh Dhoni, man of fantasy | Cricket News

NEW DELHI: MS Dhoni’s public life is like these one-way window movies within the AC compartments of Indian trains. From the within, Dhoni, a former railway ticket collector, can see us simply effective. From the surface, we hardly ever, if ever, get a glimpse of the person. This is the cut price which has sustained his enduring fantasy. For who can declare to have really recognized MS Dhoni?
Certainly not the fanatical social-media cult of Dhoni. Certainly not his fellow cricketers or ‘previous associates’, a lot of whom will attest to the previous India captain’s chilly professionalism or icy manner. These are platitudes. Few, if any, will know precisely what drove him to the lofty heights {of professional} sport.
The world media contributed to the parable, solely to find Dhoni had mastered the artwork of protecting scrutiny at arm’s size. The white celebrity cricketers, in the meantime, had been all the time overawed and “fairly aghast,” as famend social scientist Shiv Visvanathan places it, on the vary and scope of Dhoni’s tremendous superstar.

At occasions it appeared not even his personal spouse, Sakshi, had her pulse on the second. In late May, when #dhoniretires started to pattern out of the blue, she took to social media to time period Dhoni’s critics “mentally unstable”. She shortly deleted the tweet.
Now Dhoni is retired, simply as immediately, tempting us all to see into the one-way window once more. To attempt to make sense of the inscrutable. To look again on the many myths which framed the rise of this small-town cricketer with humble roots.
Dhoni, is, uniquely, half cricketing, half sociological and half social-media phenomenon. He is an intuitive new paradigm of the small-town heavy hitter. “Dhoni was by no means an agent of transformation. He was the brand new fantasy, an alchemy of himself. He was meant to be this immediate model which stored deriving longevity from its personal self-sustaining myths, one among which was the small-town picture,” says Visvanathan.
Ashis Nandy, political psychologist and writer of the ‘Tao of Cricket’, says, “MSD realised that whereas Indian cricket had modified, expectations had stayed the identical. He was extra cosmopolitan coming from Ranchi than many higher caste, city-bred middle-class cricketers. I do not assume he ever had vanity points.”
Dhoni may by no means have come out of Bombay Gymkhana, so he knew that to make his mark in a Brahminical, middle-class Team India, he needed to assume world. He knew that earlier than he may very well be the mainstream small-town icon, he needed to be Dhoni the worldwide batting phenom.

MS Dhoni's remarkable international career

MS Dhoni’s outstanding worldwide profession

“Dhoni isn’t nationwide or native. Paradoxically, that is exactly why membership video games are so necessary to him. Dhoni understands that the small really magnifies the worldwide. To make his mark, Dhoni needed to develop into inconceivable to mimic, with out family tree. His fantasy represents the democratic dream, like Bollywood. He is the brand new chrome steel,” says Visvanathan.
So how did Dhoni purchase the ‘chrome steel’ sheen? Social media works as a reminiscence marker, and Dhoni, whereas not possessing the person glory of the Tendulkars and Gavaskars, had one thing of even larger worth in society: the trophies. First got here the World T20, which modified the foundations of the sport each for him and India, then different titles just like the Champions Trophy and the Holy Grail, the World Cup. Dhoni grew to become an emblem of collective achievement, the everlasting winner of the ‘selfless cricketer’ award.
He had the likes of Gary Kirsten within the backroom and a strong staff, however the notion remained that it was all the time about Dhoni, the chief. Like the sudden selections which might grow to be masterstrokes. The swag to advertise himself up the order in a World Cup closing. The nous to not solely lead the likes of the Gangulys and Tendulkars however to resolve when to finish their careers as effectively.
Dhoni additionally knew how you can converse in silences. Social media offered him the voice, however silence grew to become an necessary a part of the Dhoni fantasy. Says Nandy, “The silence gave him the polish, the acceptability to steer. He already had the power. The silence helped him battle the assumptions.”
Moving to the Chennai IPL staff too was a terrific transfer, for the reason that metropolis takes readily to romantic notions of hero worship. But what now? “Retirement might pose an issue. Dhoni’s fantasy is repeatedly growing, and that helps maintain Brand Dhoni. The alchemy has all the time been self-centered,” says Visvanathan.
Dhoni can both develop into a sell-out and stop changing into the legend, like many ageing Bollywood actors. Or he may be content material with a profession in politics or a Rajya Sabha nomination, although each appear boring choices in Dhoni’s context. Alternately, he can merely do nothing, and we might all assume it is usually Dhoni.
Whatever highway he chooses, it’s time for ‘Captain Cool’ to confront the ability of his personal fantasy. Peer into that one-way window, this time from the surface. He might even see the necessity to fill his personal sudden void.

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