Former India batsman, Mohammad Kaif heaps high praise on MS Dhoni as social media celebrates the 16th anniversary of the former captain’s debut for India. Dhoni made his ODI debut for India on December 23, 2004, against Bangladesh in Chattogram. The wicket-keeper batsman was unfortunately run out for a first-ball duck on his debut. However, then went on to score over 10,000 ODI runs.
MS Dhoni retired earlier in the year on August 15th culminating the most illustrious career any captain could dream of. The Ranchi-born scaled unprecedented heights becoming the only captain in the history of cricket to win all the three ICC trophies – 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 ODI World Cup, and the 2013 Champions Trophy – along with taking the Indian Test team to the top of the ICC rankings. Add to it, three IPL titles and two Champions League titles as well.
None of us thought that he could captain India the way he did: Mohammad Kaif
Mohammad Kaif recalls when he first met Dhoni while playing in the Duleep Trophy, leading the Central Zone side. Dhoni was playing as a keeper-batsman for opposition East Zone after being part of India A tours.
“The first time I noticed Dhoni, I was the captain of the Central Zone in the Duleep Trophy. And he was playing for East Zone, not as a captain, a wicketkeeper. He had also toured for India A,” Mohammad Kaif told Star Sports.
The 45-year-old reveals that one of his friends had told him about MS Dhoni’s much talked about power-hitting and his penchant for smashing big sixes. Kaif, who was Man of the Match in Dhoni’s ODI debut, says that neither he nor any of his teammates would have envisaged that the long-haired wicket-keeper would take India to a position of unfathomable domination in world cricket.
“I had a friend in Lucknow who told me ‘Kaif, there is a player. Watch him. He has long hair and I’ve never seen anyone hit sixes like he does. All of us who were playing at that time – I, Zaheer, Harbhajan, Sehwag – none of us thought that he could captain India the way he did, who would lift Indian cricket to such heights,” Mohammad Kaif revealed.