July 7 happens to be the birthday of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Wishes are pouring in for the former World Cup-winning Indian captain from all over. But you can trust Hardik Pandya to do something cheeky and unique. The Baroda all-rounder posted a tweet on his timeline with a 6-second GIF of him and MSD, the latter's face apparently covered with his birthday cake, together swinging their hands in the motion of playing a helicopter shot.
It can be recalled that while Dhoni is regarded as the progenitor of this amazing stroke, Pandya too has taken a great liking to it and has played it successfully more than once in this year's IPL. It's not as if he is the first one to attempt emulating Dhoni. Even Mohammad Shahzad, the wicketkeeper-batsman in the Afghanistan team, who opened the innings for his side, had managed to copy the shot to some extent during the 2012 World T20 in Sri Lanka.
However, Shahzad was only partially successful as his helicopter shot only resembled the original. In the case of Hardik, he not only managed to copy it fully but perfect it during the IPL by sending the ball into the stands. Needless to say, Dhoni wouldn't mind this, especially if Hardik uses this shot to good effect in the upcoming semi-final of the World Cup against New Zealand and, possibly, in the final as well.
The fact that both MSD and Pandya were in such good mood can be ascribed to the fact that India were able to register a dominant win over Sri Lanka in their last league stage game of the World Cup and, thanks to Australia's defeat to South Africa, ended up on the top of the points table. This also means that the Men in Blue will be facing the no. 4 placed Kiwis in the semi-final, instead of England. While the Black Caps can never be taken lightly, they certainly seem a much easier proposition than a resurgent England.