Tasked with the responsibility of leading a fairly inexperienced side early in his career, Mahendra Singh Dhoni didn't just repay the faith of the selectors and the team management, but allowed India to etch its name in the history books with the maiden ICC World T20 title in its inaugural edition in 2007.
His capabilities in limited-overs cricket had already turned heads when he played blistering innings of 148 and 183 within a year of his debut, but the World T20 triumph in South Africa was indeed the platform that gave everyone a glimpse of the noticeable leadership skills of a long-haired and fearless Dhoni. And, since then, there has been no turning back for MSD.
Bringing a thick skin and relative indifference to the results, two key things that had earlier set the norm for an Indian captain to keep his job, Dhoni thrived in his natural progression as India's leader on the field. His partnership with Gary Kirsten in 2011 saw the Indian team ending the country's wait for 28 years to get their hands on the coveted ICC World Cup trophy.
It was undoubtedly an achievement that no other Indian captain, barring, of course, Kapil Dev, has achieved. But, Dhoni wasn't done just yet. Two years later, Dhoni helped India clinch yet another ICC trophy, this time the Champions Trophy which was held in England and Wales. In the process, Dhoni became the only captain to have won all three major ICC trophies - a feat that is yet to be matched by his counterparts.
Today, he might have reached the twilight of his glorious career and his days in international cricket are all but over, but Dhoni will always find himself in the list of biggest contributors to Indian cricket. For someone who has literally won everything there is in international cricket, Dhoni clearly has a lot to choose from when it comes to his achievements. But, still, there remains a couple of moments in his career that trump the rest.
Recently asked to pick the favourite moments from his illustrious career, Dhoni chose the amazing reception India received back home after winning the World T20 in 2007 and the thrilling atmosphere at the iconic Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai during the final few minutes of the historic World Cup final against Sri Lanka.
“There are two incidents I would like to mention over here. So after the 2007 (T20) World Cup, we came back to India and had an open bus ride and we were standing at the Marine Drive (in Mumbai). It was jam-packed all around and people had come out of their cars,” Dhoni was quoted as saying by PTI.
“So, I felt good after seeing the smile on everyone's face. Because, there could have been so many people in the crowd, who might have missed their flights, perhaps they were going for important work. The kind of reception, we got, the entire Marine Drive was full from one end to other," he added.
Speaking about another special moment in his career, Dhoni revealed that he was elated to hear the whole crowd chant 'Vande Mataram' as the 2011 World Cup final headed towards a finish with India on the verge of an emphatic victory which was eventually made sweeter by the then Indian captain as he finished the game with a towering six.
“And the second instance I would say is the 2011 World Cup final, in that match, when 15-20 runs were required, the way all the spectators started chanting 'Vande Mataram' at the Wankhede Stadium. These are two moments, I think, it will be very difficult to replicate them. Those are the two moments that are very close to my heart,” Dhoni concluded.