As one of modern India’s most loved cricketer turns 39, tributes flowed on social media, glowing eulogies were written but intriguingly yet inevitably, the former India captain remained far from the madding crowd.
Indian captains from Tiger Pataudi to Virat Kohli have been characters in their own right but no one quite like Dhoni.
The more one tries to decode the man, the mystique grows, leaving everyone as befuddled as those batsmen who saw him whip off the bails in a flash.
For the past 16 years, he has been a national obsession. Now, the discussion has shifted to will he, won’t he or perhaps when will he drop the dreaded ‘R’ word during the COVID-induced break.
His die-hard fans hate these kind of discussions and the detractors continue with a smirk. They both argue knowing there’s no closure and the man at the centre of it all goes on as if never bothered.
Often, wife Sakshi allows fans to get a sneak peek into his private life in which he can be seen taking daughter Ziva for a bike ride around his sprawling farm house or petting his canine. But to anyone looking for a peek into his mind, Dhoni remains out of bounds.
The white beard bothers the world but he sports it with that trademark mischievous grin.
No wonder the last sentence of Mohammed Kaif’’s birthday wish drawing a programming error analogy was a killer on Twitter.
“The next MSD? Error 404 Next MSD will never be found,” Kaif tweeted what millions believe.