New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the embodiment of a new India where family name does not make one's destiny in a letter to the enigmatic former captain, who retired from international cricket last week.
A thankful Dhoni shared the letter on his Twitter page on Thursday, his first social media post since the "consider me retired" note on Instagram that stunned the cricket fraternity on Saturday.
"You have been one of the important illustrations of the spirit of new India, where family name does not make young people's destiny but they make their own names and their own destinies," wrote the PM in his letter to the two-time World Cup winner.
"Where we come from does not matter as long as we know where we are headed -- this is the spirit that you have exuded and inspired many youngsters with," he said.
Dhoni, who is also an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army, thanked the PM for the appreciation.
"An Artist, Soldier and Sportsperson what they crave for is appreciation, that their hard work and sacrifice is getting noticed and appreciated by everyone.thanks PM @narendramodi for your appreciation and good wishes," he wrote.
An Artist,Soldier and Sportsperson what they crave for is appreciation, that their hard work and sacrifice is getting noticed and appreciated by everyone.thanks PM @narendramodi for your appreciation and good wishes. pic.twitter.com/T0naCT7mO7
— Mahendra Singh Dhoni (@msdhoni) August 20, 2020
In the lengthy note to the celebrated cricketer, the PM also lauded the calm demeanour with which Dhoni led the Indian team.
"No matter what hairstyle you sported, your calm head remained the same in victory or defeat, which is very important for every youth," he said referring to different hair cuts that Dhoni made famous after sporting an eye-catching long mane at the beginning of his career.
Calling him one of the greatest captains and one of the best wicketkeepers the game has seen, Modi said, "Your dependability in tough situations and your style of finishing matches, particularly the 2011 World Cup final will forever be etched in the public memory for generations."
"The correct way to assess your impact is as a phenomenon."
The 39-year-old stumper-batsman is widely considered a game-changer in international cricket and earned respect for his foresight on the cricket field, which made punts look like well thought out strategy. He will now be seen in action in the IPL, starting September 19 in the UAE.
"Rising from humble beginnings in a small town, you burst onto the national scene, made a name for yourself and most importantly, made India proud," Modi wrote.
The PM said Dhoni's rise and conduct after achieving that fame gives inspiration to youngsters who "like you haven't been to cushy schools or colleges, neither do they belong to illustrious families but they have the talent to distinguish themselves at the highest level."
Modi hailed Dhoni's ability to take risks and make them work, citing the 2007 T20 World Cup final in which the then skipper handed the ball to little-known medium pacer Joginder Sharma in a tense final over against arch-rivals Pakistan.
"Many of your memorable on-field moments exemplify a particular generation of Indians."
"This generation of Indians does not hesitate to take risks and back each other's abilities in even the toughest of situations -- seen in the way you took risks many times backing little known youngsters to deliver in high pressure situations," he noted.
"The 2007 World Cup final is a perfect example of this spirit."
He also mentioned Dhoni's well-documented involvement with the armed forces. During his sabbatical from cricket last year, Dhoni had spent a number of weeks training with his unit in the Territorial Army.
"You were most happy being among our army personnel. Your concern towards their welfare has always been remarkable," the PM said.
Modi said Dhoni also displayed how to balance professional and personal priorities to perfection.
"I remember seeing a picture of you playing with your cute daughter (Ziva) even as everyone around you was celebrating a victory in a particular tournament," he said, referring to the 2018 IPL when a picture of Dhoni playing with Ziva, while his Chennai Super Kings teammates celebrated the title triumph, went viral.
"That was vintage MS Dhoni."
Modi concluded by wishing him the best for all his future endeavours.
"I hope Sakshi (Dhoni's wife) and Ziva get to spend more time with you...without their sacrifices and support nothing would have been possible."