For over a decade, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has captivated the world of cricket and over a billion Indians with his incredible ingenuity as captain, wicketkeeper and batsman.
Bharat Sundaresan tracks down the cricketer’s closest friends in Ranchi and artfully presents the different shades of Dhoni-the Ranchi boy, the fauji, the diplomat, Chennai’s beloved Thala, the wicket keeping Pythagoras-and lays bare the man underneath. He discovers a certain je ne sais quoi about the man who has a magical ability to transform and elevate everything which comes into his orbit-the Dhoni Touch.
Funny, candid, and peppered with delicious anecdotes, The Dhoni Touch reveals an ordinary man living an extraordinary life.
Here are 5 important people from his life:
Seemant Lohani – better known as Chittu, his closest friend
Chittu was perhaps the first-ever witness to the singular traits of Dhoni, whether it was his single-minded seriousness with his task at hand on the badminton court or his immensely practical approach to all facets of life, including exam time. Chittu has also dealt with being a celebrity confidante better than most and while nobody knows Mahi better than Chittu, nobody is more elusive when it comes to talking about Mahi than Chittu.
Keshav Banerjee, Dhoni’s school coach
The hard-nosed, no nonsense sports teacher was single-handedly responsible for transforming a goalkeeper into the foremost wicketkeeper of his generation. Dhoni was by far the most unique ward he came across in his multiple-decade long career and the one who understood his tough love approach to coaching innately. He’ll always remain a very revered figure in the Dhoni journey with the man himself making it a point to pay his guru a visit whenever he can.
Chottu-bhaiya (Paramjit Singh), who was Dhoni’s former clubmate
Dhoni would go on to become a regular feature in the Forbes’ richest sportstars list for years to come and have the biggest brands in the world at his neck and call. He would also boast of a garage filed with the most opulent two-wheel machines the world has seen. But it was Chottu bhaiya who got him his first sponsor and Chottu bhaiya who indulged his passion for bikes by lending his own RX 100 over two decades ago.
Col. Shankar, a good friend of Mahi’s
The Colonel has played a significant role in enabling Dhoni to indulge in his Fauji passions, be it competing with him in shooting ranges around the country or helping him soak in a little of the Fauji lifestyle. Over the years, the two have also developed a friendship that goes beyond army matters, and the Colonel perhaps understands the Dhoni enigma better than most and has come the closest to unraveling the Dhoni code.
VB Chandrasekhar: former India opener and national selector
Chandrasekhar had a hand in two of the most significant moments in Dhoni’s cricketing career. He was one of the national selectors who backed him the most while Dhoni was still making his way into the team. It was Chandrasekhar again who first pushed Dhoni’s case with N Srinivasan to get him to Chennai Super Kings at the advent of the IPL, before he played a Dhoni-esque game to win him over during the auction to change the demographics of sporting fandom in the country.