Dhoni, a simple man, then and now
Former Jharkhand cricketer Satya Prakash Krishna had never imagined the young boy, MS Dhoni, whose first birthday celebration after later joining the railways would become an international star.
“Yes, I very well recall the day July 7, 2001 when four friends met at my Kharagpur home and celebrated Dhoni’s birthday. It was rather a very simple celebration. We all were from a lower middle class family and could not afford to spend much. Not even went out for outings on the day. We simply wished him and had dinner together. We also presented him with a shirt then,”
Satya Prakash Krishna, speaking exclusively over telephone from Kharagpur said on the eve of Dhoni’s 39th birthday.
In fact, Satya Prakash was instrumental in Dhoni getting his first job in Railways then.
Unable to find a job in Ranchi, Dhoni went to Kharagpur in the early 2001 seeking a job through sports quota in the Railways. Dhoni’s this Jharkhand team mate introduced him to the Divisional Railway Manager and Dhoni got the job.
“We also celebrated his birthday in 2003-04 when he was selected in the team for India A.”
“People all over the world now celebrate his birthday every year. I will be planting a tree near my house on Tuesday and send a message to my friend. Planting a tree in memory is the best way of birthday celebration.”
“I am proud to be a friend of Dhoni with whom the legendary cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Rohit Sharma and even Virat Kohli have played.”
“We were in Leeds and preparing to go to Manchester but before boarding a bus we cut the cake,” recalled Sunil Subramanium, who was the team manager then.
“Dhoni’s wife (Sakshi) and daughter (Ziva) were present. It has been a regular practice to celebrate each player’s anniversary. All players liked team physio Patrick Farhat very and his face was always sought for cream application,” he added.
Mohali’s Ram Babu is considered to be Dhoni’s greatest fan.
“In the last few years I have never missed any international match in India where Dhoni has played. I have also followed him on a few overseas tours,” he said.
“Whenever Dhoni is in Ranchi and not on a cricket tour, I don’t miss a chance to visit his house. This year because of COVID-19, I won’t be going to Ranchi. But will celebrate his birthday by cutting a cake and feeding about 50 poor boys here,” he added and concluded with “Dhoni is my God”.
Interestingly, Dhoni’s birth and wedding anniversaries fall in the same week. Ten years ago, he married Sakshi on July 4.
He, however, does not like to spend lavish parties on his birthdays, informs Yudhajit Dutta.
“I was his manager for about 10 years and don’t recall he arranged a big party on his birthday. He always prefers simple celebrations though we once or twice did host a party on his birthday,” recalled Dutta.