Mahendra Singh Dhoni Unplugged: Country and Parents Above All, Wife is Third, Says Captain Cool
Winning the ICC World Cup in 2011 was a proud moment but not the biggest moment of his life. For Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the simple memories of childhood and the passion to serve the nation are few of the elementary things that mean the most to him.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni became India's most successful ODI captain - with 91 triumphs - in Birmingham on Tuesday. International cricket may have given him a lifetime of laurels and accolades but for the much-celebrated player from Ranchi, the simple things in life still hold the greatest pleasure.
"I love my country," Dhoni was quoted as saying. "I tell my wife she is only the third most important thing after my country and my parents, in that order. The point is that while I am an Indian cricketer I will devote myself to that cause. Cricket is not everything, not by any means, but it is a large part of who I am. Therefore I want to play in all formats of the game and to play as much as possible because before long it will be over. Then I'll focus more on the Army!"
For a man who is revered by an entire country, Dhoni himself worships India with passion. Little surprise then that Dhoni himself is in awe of the 'real' heroes of the nation.
"I care most about how people live their lives, what choices they make and how they get the best from themselves. This is why people such as Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin (Tendulkar) and Rahul (Dravid) are heroes of mine," Dhoni said.
While he may share his idols with millions, Dhoni credits his parents - especially his father Pan Singh - for how his life has shaped up.
"When I was young I was closer to my mother but while I was in Class 12,Â the reason for my father's reference to discipline became clear to me," Dhoni revealed.
"Exams were due and I needed to study but the last day of preparation coincided with a big cricket match. I asked him what I should do. In turn, he asked if I was ready for the exam, which I felt I was. 'With only 24 hours to go you will either be ready or you will not. Go and play,' he said, 'and have some fun for there is nothing more you can do in your studying.' In other words, you now have your priorities in order."
And Dhoni has never lost sight of his priorities since then. The 33-year-old World Cup-winning captain has always allowed priorities and procedures chart out his life.
"I believe in the process more than the result. If you are properly prepared, physically and mentally, committed to the task and fully engaged in the moment, then I have no problem with the outcome," he said.
Dhoni's focus though is not restricted to just cricket, although the sport shares a link with most of what he most cares about. For example, his love for bikes - he has 35 - is also a result of a deep-rooted passion.
"I love them all, expensive, cheap, old and new," he said, adding that he himself polishes the machines to keep them shining like new.
"I like to polish them. I'll tell you a story. When I was a boy, one of our senior players used to position his beautiful bike behind me and then hit balls at me to catch. If I missed one and it hit the bike, I had to fix up the mark. Therefore I learned not to miss many. I've either been polishing bikes or trying to cling on to catches pretty much ever since!"
It is this simple yet beautiful partnership between on-field endeavors and off-field passions that has defined the Indian captain. It is also one that will inspire generations even as the man himself seeks to serve the country as a whole - through cricket and otherwise.