Former wicketkeeper-batsman MS Dhoni changed the dynamics of Indian cricket when he entered the scene in winter 2004.
Prior to MS Dhoni’s emergence, Team India was grappling with the lack of potent options, who were equally good both in front and behind the stumps.
Former Indian wicketkeeper and the erstwhile chairman of the selection committee Kiran More has revealed an interesting anecdote that led to the selection of MS Dhoni.
Before Dhoni, India had to make Rahul Dravid as their makeshift stumper in One-day International cricket in order to play seven batsmen while they played musical chairs for the coveted position in Test match cricket.
But, with Rahul Dravid set to enter a new phase in his career, the selectors wanted to give the latter some respite by picking a guy like MS Dhoni, who could wack the ball from ball 01.
“Rahul Dravid had already kept in 75 One-day Internationals, so we were looking for a wicketkeeper-batsman who could whack the ball and we could give Rahul a respite,” Kiran More told WV Raman on his podcast ‘Inside Out’.
‘There was surely something special about the way he approached the game’- Kiran More on MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni made heads turn courtesy of his exploits in a tri-nation series for India A in Kenya in late 2004. He was immediately drafted in the ODI team for the tour of Bangladesh, and although he endured a disastrous debut, it did not take long for the charismatic wicketkeeper-batsman to make heads turn.
He smashes a brutal 148 against Pakistan in Vizag in April 2005 and just to prove that it wasn’t a one-off knock, he produced another masterclass, a few months later, at the expense of Sri Lanka (183).
India already had the likes of Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh in their ODI set-up but the inclusion of Dhoni added a new dimension to the team, and the rest, as they say, is history.
”There was surely something special about the way he approached the game. We picked him for India A to Kenya, where he had a good tour and scored over 600 runs. We already had players like Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh but when Dhoni came, he was a complete package and took the Indian cricket by storm,” Kiran More further recalled.