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Virat as ‘Cheeku’, Dhoni as ‘Mahi’: The fascinating story behind the nicknames of Indian cricketers

Have you ever heard Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni screaming ‘Cheeku’ when the ball travels to Virat Kohli fielding in the outfield? Surely you have because, as Dhoni says, the stump mics pick up everything he utters. On a serious note though, have you wondered why Kohli is called Cheeku? Or, for that matter, why Dhoni is referred to as ‘Mahi’? Well, a recent video put up on the BCCI’s official website has solved this mystery.

In the video, the Men in Blue are seen revealing the secret behind their cheeky and unusual pet names. “My nickname is Mahi, it used to be Mahe, which is basically half of my full name, so I decided to get rid of the second one and stuck around with Mahi,” says the most successful Indian captain.
Kohli’s honest confession about his nickname is worth a laugh. He says, “I got the name Cheeku because back in that time I had big ears and was chubby, on top of that I had cut my hair very short and one our coaches thought that I look like Cheeku the rabbit from Champak comics. So that’s the way I got my name and then it stuck with me from there on.”
Next in line is Ravindra Jadeja, who is known as Jaddu. He has a straight-forward reason his nickname. “I am called Jaddu because that is the short form of my original name.”
Then comes Suresh Raina whose nickname wasn’t well known, but thanks to BCCI, now fans know what it is. “My nickname is Sonu. I was playing somewhere in my locality during my childhood days and somebody suddenly called me Sonu and then everybody followed suit,” said the left-hand batsman.
Raina has a namesake in the Indian Cricket Team and even die-hard fans will find it difficult to guess who the player is. Can you guess? You know him as ‘Bhaji’ or the ‘Turbanator’. Yes, it’s Harbhajan Singh and here is what he had to say: “My nickname is Sonu but I am easily associated with the name ‘Bhaji’. I don’t know where it came from but now people know me more as Bhaji than Sonu.”
‘Ash’ or Ravichandran Ashwin is on cloud nine because his pet name matches that of Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. “My nickname is the shortened version of my full name and I like it because it has a Bollywood connection,” says Ashwin.
If there’s a random quiz and someone asks you to name the most over smart guy in the Indian cricket team, what would your answer be? Virat Kohli? Hardik Pandya? Well if you say that then, in cricketing terms, you will have ‘missed the length by a mile.’ The ‘Shaana’ player (over smart) of the Indian team is none other than the flamboyant opener from Mumbai, Rohit Sharma. So how did a shy guy like him earn this nickname? “Yuvraj Singh gave me this name to me because he feels that I am the Shaana of the team,” smirked Rohit.
Yuvraj and Ajinkya Rahane’s pet names ‘Yuvi and Ajju’ are well known and the reason behind such names is apparent. “I am called Yuvi because I think it’s easier to pronounce than Yuvraj,” says Yuvraj . “I am Ajju as every member of my family likes to call me Ajju,” explains Rahane.
India’s daredevil opener Shikhar Dhawan who is better know as ‘Gabbar’ says, “People call me Gabbar and Jat and I like both of them.”
Mahi, Cheeku, Sonu, Ajju, Shana – the story behind the nicknames of #TeamIndia members http://www.bcci.tv/videos/id/2052/know-your-stars-the-story-behind-nicknames
Posted by Indian Cricket Team on Sunday, 6 March 2016
The latest entrant in India’s star-studded batting line-up is Hardik Pandya. The all-rounder has a penchant for funky hairstyles, and it’s easy to make the connection with his nickname ‘Hairy’. The Mumbai Indians star reveals, “My nickname is Hairy and my teammates call me anything they want but Raina bhai says that I am the Neymar of India, and Dhoni bhai seconds that thought.”
Now you know the story behind all the nicknames of your favourite stars