Dubai: It has become a habit for former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to do things out that are out of the ordinary, and catch others by surprise. Be it the decision to retire from international cricket, vacating his captaincy or — in this case — asking someone else to take his seat on a flight. He doesn’t hold on to his seat dearly for his life.
Dhoni has exhibited many times that he cares for others, and the latest incident happened during the flight from Chennai to Dubai on Friday when the Chennai Super Kings travelled for Indian Premier League 13 to be held in UAE from September 19-November 10.
George John, CSK’s Director of Operations, was sitting in the economy class and was struggling with the leg-space. Finding out that John was uncomfortable, Dhoni, the Thala (leader) of the Yellow Lions pride, asked the director to take his Business Class seat, while he took the Economy seat.
John took to Twitter to appreciate the gesture of MSD and wrote: “When a man who’s seen it all, done it all in cricket tells you, ‘Your legs are too long, sit in my seat (Business Class), I’ll sit in Economy.’ The skipper never fails to amaze me. @msdhoni.”
For the record, Dhoni, who has won all major international trophies during his illustrious career while leading Team India, quit from Tests midway during the Australia series in 2014-15 and gave up his captaincy in the shorter formats in 2017 and continued to serve the Indian team until he announced his international retirement in Chennai on August 15, India's Independence Day, days before flying out to the UAE.
It’s this simple approach that led Dhoni’s way into the hearts of the Yellove, who adore the CSK skipper. However, the relationship between Dhoni and the CSK fans is highly reciprocal.
On numerous occasions, Dhoni has professed his love for the Chennai Super Kings team, their management and the Whistlepodu fans. When the former India captain had to wear the Rising Pune Supergiant jersey, when CSK were banned for two years, he went on record to say he was waiting to get back into the Chennai dressing room. And where should he end his international career, at his adopted home in Chennai along with his trusted lieutenant Suresh Raina, who is also much-loved by the whistlepodu as Chinna Thala (assistant leader).
The Chennai fans idolise Dhoni and shower him with unconstrained love. His entry into the field, his walk and even a glance will send the fans into a frenzy.
To know how much his presence in the Lions’ Den, the famed Chepauk Stadium, sends the fans delirious, one need not look very far. Last year, the first practice session of the Super Kings witnessed a packed stadium — yes, just a practice session.
Dhoni once again proved that he is truly a leader, Thala for the fans.