Jaico Cricketwallah Series with Ayaz Memon is a series of short and thin books (70-80 pages) chronicling the lives of successful cricketers from India. So far, 4 books have been published in the series, one each on Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. I’m sure many more such chronicles would be in the pipeline. This book M S Dhoni : Captain Cool is penned by Indranil Rai, a freelance journalist.
Just like other chronicles, this too begins with the early life of M.S. Dhoni who was born in an obscure small town which many didn’t even know existed until he shot to fame with his cricketing exploits. It also talks about how Dhoni comes from a family that has seen it’s own monetary struggles to survive and how he was into sports from the beginning. Dhoni was a goal-keeper in his school days and how his coach always wanted a bigger platform for the talented boy.
Coming from small-town, he had to struggle very hard and was often sidelined against others. He got very less chances to prove himself in the beginning and wasn’t selected for the Railways team where he was working as a ticket-collector. Later on, his exploits earned him places in Ranji team, U-19 team and subsequently in India ‘A’ team where he excelled.
But it took a while before he got an international call. In 2004 against Bangladesh where he didn’t have a memorable debut. But he grew in ranks with his uninhibited and explosive batting and also immense strength. He also went on to become the highest scorer among the Indian wicket-keepers.
The book also talks about his rise in captaincy, his unorthodox methods working fine for him and how he got India the first T20I in 2007, WC in 2011 and also took India to the number 1 position in ICC Test rankings for the first time. He also led CSK to 2 titles in the IPL. Yes, he is the man with the midas touch.
He also garnered fair amount of criticism for his unbelievable decisions and unnecessary stroke-hitting, he was also blamed for the recent losses in 2013 and many questioned his captaincy abilities and some also suggested retirement.
Apart from this on-field matters, lot of off-field matters are also discussed like his penchant for fast bikes and his associating with Bollywood’s hunk John Abraham. He is one of the richest sportsmen in the world now who also owns a racing team on his name. His portfolio is impressive as he endorses as many as 20 brands.
Comparatively, this book was a bit difficult to read when compared to the other two in this series as off-field matters were given more prominence than his on-field histrionics. Also, the narration moves back and forth in time confusing the reader. One chapter talks about 2010, for instance, continuing to 2013 and the next one again comes back to 2011.
Nevertheless, a short and sweet read about the emergence of Captain Cool from the obscurity.