hardik_pandya_ms_dhoni. Photo-IPL
hardik_pandya_ms_dhoni. Photo-IPL

MS Dhoni is responsible for the current crop of superstars in Indian cricket. Dhoni gave India debuts to Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, and R Ashwin, all of whom went on to do great things professionally and raise Indian cricket to new heights. Kohli and Rohit are two of the top batsmen in the world, while Ashwin is the best Test spinner. Jadeja is perhaps the finest all-rounder in the world, with England Test captain Ben Stokes right behind him.

Another young all-rounder made his debut under Dhoni in 2016 and has since gone on to establish a name for himself. Hardik Pandya, who had been out of the Indian team for a time, had a spectacular comeback to top-flight cricket in the 2022 Indian Premier League, not only with his bat and ball but also by captaining Gujarat Titans to an IPL title in his first season as captain.

Chetan Sharma on Hardik Pandya
Photo Credit: (ICC)

I Was Lucky To Make My Debut Under MS Dhoni: Hardik Pandya

When asked about his India debut, Hardik stated MS Dhoni’s support was unrivalled. When bowling against Australia, Hardik Pandya went for 21 runs in his first over, and while most captains would be hesitant to give a youngster another over, Dhoni did, and thanks to his captain’s trust, he finished the game.

Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni (Image Credits: Twitter)
Hardik Pandya and MS Dhoni (Image Credits: Twitter)

“When I joined the Indian team, I saw guys whom I had seen growing up – Suresh Raina, Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Ashish Nehra. Even before I played for India, they were the stars. For me, when I went there it was a big thing.

“So obviously the kind of debut I had – I think I am the first cricketer who had gone for 21 runs in his first over – I genuinely felt that ok, this might be my last over. But I was very blessed and lucky to play under Mahi Bhai who showed a lot of trust in us which has helped us reach where we did,” Hardik told SGTV podcast.

Hardik did not bat in any of the three games, but he did take three wickets. Dhoni, on the other hand, was so impressed with Hardik that he assured the all-rounder a berth in India’s World Cup squad, which was still a few months away at the time.

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