New Delhi– Millions of Mahendra Singh Dhoni fans were in for a pleasant surprise when the cricketing icon emerged in a new avatar – bulging biceps and a brand new beard et al — for the opening match of the 2020 IPL. His current looks are vastly different from the one he sported in late 2004 when he made his international debut.
From his free-flowing, shoulder length hair and a lean physique on his ODI debut against Bangladesh in Chittagong in December 2004 to the present muscular appearance, 39-year-old Dhoni has undergone many appearance changes over the years.
Dhoni has won hearts not only with his six-hitting ability and the ‘helicopter shot’, but has mesmerised his innumerable fans with his looks too – particularly his ever-changing hair style that even caught the attention of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf once.
After an ODI in Lahore on India’s tour of Pakistan, Musharraf was so much in awe of Dhoni’s hairstyle that he advised him to not get a haircut. “I saw a placard which said ‘Dhoni have a haircut’. If you want to take my opinion, you look good… Don’t have a hair cut,” Musharraf had said with a beaming smile at the post-match prize distribution ceremony. The Gaddafi Stadium reverberated with a loud applause even as Dhoni, standing at almost hand-shaking distance from Musharraf, blushed.
Cut to September 19, 2020. Dhoni’s fans across the globe vowed as he entered the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi for the IPL opener against Mumbai Indians on September 19 – when he returned to competitive cricket after 437 days; his last match was the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. He looked distinctly muscular, sported a new hairstyle, and an unusual beard – so different from the looks he had 15 years ago when he first represented India.
The man from Ranchi has have put on a little weight during his time away from competitive cricket. Although by no means did he look fat or bulky, he had surely worked a lot on his muscles during the lockdown period when he was confined to his Ranchi farmhouse.
After entered the international stage with long hair in 2004, Dhoni changed his looks and his body also got all beefed up. By the time he led India to title victory at the 2007 ICC World T20, he had become a media icon and his hipster look seemed good for his image as he was acknowledged as one of the best contemporary wicket-keeper-batsman.
As time passed by, Dhoni shortened his hair and after he led India to the World Cup victory in 2011, he shaved his head completely. The next day after the final, when the ICC took his to the Gateway of India in Mumbai for a customary photoshoot with the trophy, the world saw him in a new look holding the trophy.
For 2013 IPL, Dhoni got a mohawk hairstyle. Then, by the time he retired from Test cricket in 2014, he had become the elder statesman of Indian cricket and that reflected in his appearance and maturity. He started keeping a clean look with a slightly white beard.
In 2018, Dhoni once again changed his hairstyle when he sported the retro ‘V Hawk’ haircut. In his last international assignment for India at the 2019 World Cup, he sported faded sides along with a longer cut on the top.
While he has retired from international cricket, it is believed that Dhoni might play at least one or two more IPL competitions. And if he actually plays the 2021 edition, his fans can expect their hero with a new hairstyle and maybe some more changes in his body. (IANS)