Long hair, rough looks, humongous arms and enormous strength of display – most of us vividly remember how Mahendra Singh Dhoni made his first appearance on India’s cricketing circuit, back in 2004. 11 years later, Mahi is the most popular Indian cricketer and has taken Indian cricket to unimaginable heights. Some may call it sheer luck, but the small-town boy from Ranchi has worked hard to earn every bit of the recognition he truly deserves. Critics may have their share of comments, but India loves their ‘Captain Cool’ and they will continue to do so. As MSD celebrates his 34th birthday today, we take a look at how and when Dhoni proved he’s the ultimate boss of Indian cricket!

1. Gambler: When he played a gamble so big, it could have gone wrong for him as well as India!

2. Leader: When he led the Indian team to the top of the ICC Test Rankings in 2009, for the first time ever, among other achievements.

3. Finisher: When he took it upon himself to win the 2011 World Cup and finished the game in style with his trademark Helicopter Shot!

4. Talker: When his press conferences aren’t sugarcoated with things the media wants to know. Instead, Dhoni’s answers to controversial questions are witty, blunt and do the job for him.

On DRS – ‘We don’t need a watchman who guards us 9 to 6 and then leaves us on our own’.

On the Indian tail’s underperformance – ‘Now even PETA has said you can’t cosmetically remove the tail.’ 

5. Speaker of truth: When you listen to his behind-the-stump chatter, recorded on the stump mic, which is insightful and equally hilarious.

Happy birthday, Dhoni! We love you.