When MS Dhoni used to take aim, it was not just at the stumps, but sometimes, also at the corrugated cardboard pieces with a sheet of printed target image on them, at the many shooting ranges he visited across the country.
The whole country is privy to MS Dhoni’s love for the Indian Army and the camouflage outfits. Some are even aware of the few pictures that had surfaced, showing Dhoni taking aim with a gun/rifle in hand. Well, those pictures might increase in number because the former India skipper might try his hand at professional shooting, feel experts.
Former India shooter Shimon Sharif, who is now an importer of equipment for top shooters in the country, revealed that he had received an e-mail from MS Dhoni at 2 a.m. to enquire about importing a rifle, 10 years back. Dhoni eventually got his preferred rifle delivered at his Ranchi residence.
It was an LG300XT Walther Carbontec, the same model with which Abhinav Bindra won India’s only individual gold medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
"After he imported his Walther rifle he was in touch with me and exchanged several mails and even text messages. I had offered to help him to take up the sport but he was too busy then with all his cricketing commitments," Sharif told PTI.
Calling MS Dhoni “friendly and down to earth,” Sharif said Dhoni shared his personal number with him and always used to reply to his messages.
During a recent interaction with Suresh Raina, Manavaditya said, “He has a lot of interest in shooting also. I think he hit the target all the time.”
When MS Dhoni swapped bat with a gun
India was supposed to play Australia in an ODI at the Eden Gardens in 2017. However, MS Dhoni was in the news for a different sport. When the team’s outdoor training was cancelled due to rains, Dhoni, who is now a life member of the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI), made his way to the Kolkata Police Training School and shot both in the 10m and 25m ranges.
“His accuracy is breathtaking,” Kolkata Police had posted on social media at the time.
This was not the only interaction between MS Dhoni and the Kolkata police officials. In 2010, Dhoni had visited the city headquarters at Lalbazar, asking for an old motorcycle.
"He has had love for guns and shooting since a very long time. Now that he is done with cricket, shooting could be his next sport...I have seen many professional athletes shifting to shooting after retiring from their sport and go on to become Olympic champions,” Sharif, who also runs the portal indianshooting.com concluded.
While that certainly remains a possibility, people won’t be surprised either if pictures emerge of MS Dhoni taking aim, with his Walther rifle, without looking at the target.