Former India captain and wicket-keeper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was known for his witty statements and sarcastic replies to the media during his international playing career.

The only captain to have led his team to all three ICC trophies, Dhoni guided the Men in Blue to the World Cup, the T20 World Cup and the Champions Trophy, besides also taking India to the top of the ICC Test rankings while he was skipper.

In August 2020, the legendary wicket-keeper announced his retirement in a heartfelt social media post that encapsulated his cricketing journey over the years. 

A player who always placed his country above individual honours, Dhoni’s humour and ethos came to the fore during his interactions with the media. As Captain Cool turns 40 and rings in his first birthday after retirement, we take a look at some of his best quotes that embodied the world-cup winning captain.

Dhoni was at his cheeky best during a press conference at the 2014 T20 World  Cup when he was asked about his beard getting white and the pressure that comes with leading India in all three formats.

"It's like having 100 kgs put over you. That's good enough to weigh you down. After that even if you put a mountain, it will not make a difference." 

In an interview to Mark Nicholas in 2014 that focused on cricket and some other aspects, Dhoni stressed that his priorities had not changed even post marriage and playing for the nation was still above anything else.

“I tell my wife she is only the third most important thing after my country and my parents, in that order." 

The destructive wicket-keeper batsman was at his sarcastic best in 2015 when he was asked to pick which series whitewash hurt him more between the 2011 tour of England or the tour to Australia later that same year.

 "When you die, you die. You don't think which is the better way to die."

Dhoni wasn’t afraid to make his voice heard when needed either. After India’s defeat to South Africa following a batting collapse in the 2011 World Cup group stage - which was incidentally the team’s only loss in the tournament - Dhoni asserted that one must not play to the gallery but their country instead. India later went on to win the World Cup under MSD’s leadership.

"You don't play for the crowd, you play for the country." 

One of his best quotes that showcased his stoic approach to life in general came after the 2011 World Cup while at a press conference. MSD was asked how his life had changed following the historic triumph when he said that his dogs always helped him remain grounded and treated him the same way irrespective of results.

"I have three dogs at home. Even after losing a series or winning a series, they treat me the same way."

Four years later, Dhoni was leading India at the 2015 Cricket World Cup in Australia and the tournament coincided with the birth of his daughter, Ziva. When asked if he would have liked to have been in India for his daughter’s birth, he was quick to respond that the country always comes first.

"I am on national duty. Everything else can wait."

Most recently, commentator Danny Morrison asked the Chennai captain if it would be his last game in the Indian T20 League during the toss before a match against Punjab in 2020. His succinct answer with a cheeky smile went viral in no time and became a matter of national discussion. 

“Definitely not”

While no longer a part of the national set-up, Dhoni’s still going strong in the Indian T20 League and looks in great shape even at the age of 40, which means we can look forward to some more tongue in cheek bytes from the legend in the years to come.

Featured photo : Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP