Decoded: Why Indian cricket Loves MS Dhoni

Remember, Andre Russel had to plug his ears in ‘Anbuden’ during KKR vs CSK at Chepauk. Is there a relatability factor? Does the flair of keeping it simple add to his charisma? Is the flamboyance of loving his country and proudly owning it an X factor?
MS Dhoni is playing for CSK in IPL 2024

MS Dhoni is playing for CSK in IPL 2024. Picture Credit: BCCI/IPL

KEY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Why fans erupt in joy with just a glimpse of MSD?
  • Will this be ‘Thala’s swansong year?
  • MS Dhoni’s estimated net worth stands at Rs. 1040 crores as of 2023
When was the last time you heard loud cheers from fans when Indian batsmen got out? Well, it happens every time Chennai Super Kings is batting. Why? one would ask and it has a very simple answer - they get to see their ‘Thala’ on the field, it just doesn’t matter whether its 2 balls or 2 overs, its 4s or 6s or just singles but the helicopter shot is always the icing on the cake.
All the crowd wants to see is MS Dhoni on strike. They are aware this could be the last time they see him play and with the IPL final also scheduled in Chennai, fans are speculating that their favourite captain could bid adieu to the game forever. Dhoni underwent a knee surgery after last year’s IPL triumph and has been seen limping this season.
So, what is it that makes Dhoni a fan favourite? Why is there a deafening noise in any stadium in India when he walks in? Remember, Andre Russell had to plug his ears in ‘Anbuden’ during KKR vs CSK at Chepauk. Is there a relatability factor? Is the flamboyance of loving his country and proudly owning it - whether it’s wearing the balidan badge, insignia of the Indian Para Special Forces, on his wicket keeping gloves during the 2019 Cricket World Cup to show his respect or taking a sabbatical from the game he loves to serve in his Territorial army regiment - an X factor that not many sportspersons can boast of?
Why do sponsors believe in brand Dhoni? Does the flair of keeping it simple add to his charisma?

WHY FANS LOVE MS DHONI

Let’s deep dive and get a perspective from all the stakeholders to understand the Dhoni Phenomenon. Fans are the backbone of cricket in India and MS Dhoni can boast of a cult like following. There’s an emotion that’s attached to him.
Shagun Rana, a die hard MSD fan explains her love for the CSK captain, “I was a kid when Dhoni entered cricket, was in Standard 4 when he played his first ODI. I literally grew up watching him. India won so many titles under his captaincy. He has a Charisma which cannot be described. His rapid response behind the stumps is something that makes him very special to me.”
For Yash Chawla, an avid cricket fan and former sports journalist, Dhoni’s career is a life lesson in execution and implementation. He expresses, “Indian cricket loves its idols and there have been many since 1983 but for me no one comes close to Dhoni. MSD’s career was a masterclass in planning and execution. The ease with which MS executed his plans made me feel that cricket is the easiest sport in the world which everyone knows is not. His career can be on a B school curriculum and can be taught worldwide but will be the most difficult lesson to replicate.”
Chennai Super Kings and Dhoni have been synonymous since the start of IPL 2008 and with speculations on rise about this being his swangsong year, emotions are at an all time high, especially for India Hockey player Yuvraj Walmiki. He says, “Dhoni is the reason I watched cricket, I support CSK. I’ve cried thinking about his retirement. I know one day he has to but I cannot fathom it will happen. Don’t know how I will react because there is just so much to learn from him. The love and respect I have for Dhoni is beyond comparison to anything in this world. He’s just too special a person and a cricketer.”

RETIRED BUT AN AD MAGNET

Dhoni also carries the burden of expectations of the marketing world on his shoulders. Even retired, he pulls brands and sponsorships on his own accord. Rahul Trehan, COO, IOS sports, opines, “You know, when it comes to Dhoni and brand value, he is an anomaly. He has achieved something marketing teams put years to build. His brand value is something we cannot define with mere technical jargons. He has earned that stature. Whether it's his consistent match winning performances over the years, from leading the team to three ICC trophies, to pulling off incredible victories in last overs, he has proven his mettle.”
He further elaborates how Dhoni’s controversy free career also helped build trust factor, “He has always managed to stay away from any kind of controversy, brands know they can trust him to be a responsible ambassador who will uphold their values. He seems like the person sitting next to you despite all his achievements. He has remained incredibly grounded and approachable, which is invaluable for brands looking to forge genuine emotional connections with their audiences.”
Dhoni retired from Indian cricket on 15th August, 2020 with an emotional post on social media. 4 years later, as India continues its quest for an ICC trophy with the T20 World Cup in USA and West Indies fast approaching, requests are still made to BCCI to get him back in the team - such is the enigma of India’s Captain Cool.
End of Article
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