For Mahendra Singh Dhoni, dreams are indeed coming true.
“I never thought I would play for India, as simple as that,” said the World Cup-winning skipper after the new name — Mahi Racing Team India — for his super bike team was unveiled.
“Coming from a small town, I dreamt of riding a bike, but definitely not racing,” he said.
Cricket and bikes interested Dhoni, but the real passion was getting into the army.
“When I say I wanted to play cricket, I never thought cricket would be my profession.
“The army was something I wanted to join, then cricket happened. Everything fell into place,” said Dhoni, whose team competed in the Supersport class in the 2012 world superbike championship.
The four-member MRTI will compete in the world superbike championship next season. Dhoni played down talks about winning.
“I don’t want to pressurise anyone about wanting to be the top team and finishing in the top three. We have a mix of talented, young and experienced riders. The technical support is good,” he said.
Dhoni follows a simple line of thinking as far as expectations go.
“What we are looking for is progress from the riders and good support from the technical side. As I say in cricket, we won’t think too much about the result, the process and preparation are important.”
Talking about the decision to enter competitive racing, Dhoni said: “India is already hosting F1, at that level there is nothing for two-wheelers. We see so much interest for biking among youngsters, this is an opportunity for them to get into racing.”
Meanwhile, riding academies are being planned by MRTI at Greater Noida and Sriperumbudur, near Chennai.
“The purpose is to promote Indian talent.
“We have got good foreign riders, but I feel it could take three years to get a young Indian into the championship and maybe on the podium.
“There are some good kids around,” said Team Principal Amit Sandill.