In the late 90’s and during Greg Chappell's coaching era, when heads were tumbling through the Indian team's turmoil, it seems all that Mahendra Singh Dhoni did was chalked out a plan on how things would change for better. When granted the opportunity to lead, he showed himself ready and emerged as the solution to most of India's problems, enough to finally fulfill expectations of a long-suffering crowd of supporters.
An Adam Gilchrist-inspired Dhoni was drafted in 2004 to solve India's wicketkeeper-batsman crisis following the failure of the Rahul Dravid experiment. His start was anything but legendary - getting out for a duck. It was his fifth outing at home against Pakistan in 2005, that a blistering 148 which set up India for a win, made everyone sit up and take notice. A mammoth 183 to chase a high Sri Lankan total later in the year reiterated his value. By the end of 2005, Dhoni donned the all-whites to earn a Test cap against Sri Lanka, holding both ODI and Test spots ever since. In the inaugural ICC World Twenty20 that followed, Dhoni was chosen to lead a young Indian side. Under his guidance, the team quickly turned disappointment to joy by lifting the coveted trophy, to the surprise of both fans and detractors. His ability to excel in leadership was quickly recognized and within a year, he was appointed Indian skipper in all forms of the game.
Under Dhoni's captaincy, India posted successful Test series victories home and away against England (2008), New Zealand (2009) and Sri Lanka (2009). Throughout his first five years as a Test player, India had lost only two away series, a record which helped them top the Test rankings. The biggest accomplishment of his career came in 2011 when he powered Team India to a remarkable World Cup victory with his extraordinary leadership skills that proved his worth as a successful captain. It was after 28 long years that India won the Cup, thanks to a bunch of hardworking and enthusiastic cricketers led by a young and exceptionally astute skipper. He played a captain's innings in the final against Sri Lanka, where his brilliant knock of 91 runs sealed the most memorable victory for his team and his country. He may have won the Man of the Match award in that ultimate encounter, but for a cricket-crazy nation, MS Dhoni will forever be the man who fulfilled a billion Indian dreams.