Former Indian captain and cricketer MS Dhoni made his international debut in 2004 against Bangladesh. MS Dhoni, who enjoyed the backing of Sourav Ganguly and donned the Indian colours, had preferred the keeper-batsman for Pakistan’s tour earlier that year. John Wright, who coached the Indian team from 2000 to 2005, disclosed how the World Cup-winning captain marginally missed out.
India visited Pakistan for playing three Tests and five ODIs, both of which they won. They beat the hosts in Tests by 2-1 and 3-2 in the white-ball rubber. It was also the first time in 15 years that the Indians were playing a Test series in Pakistan. Gujarat keeper-batsman Parthiv Patel made it to the Test squad instead of MS Dhoni while Rahul Dravid went behind the stumps for the five ODIs.
John Wright conceded that MS Dhoni nearly toured with us in 2004 as Sourav Ganguly wanted to have him in the squad. The former Kiwi cricketer added that it was a decision, which could have gone either way with Dhoni coming very close. He paid tribute to the winning squad, saying that they chose a successful Test squad, a party where MS Dhoni could not make the cut.
“Dhoni nearly toured with us to Pakistan in 2004. Sourav was very keen to have him in the squad. He was on the borderline, and it was one of those decisions that could have gone either way. As it turned out, we selected a successful Test team and he didn’t make it,” Wright told IANS.
Wright recalled that it was when Dhoni’s discussions began doing rounds and Sourav always encouraged youngsters who arrived in the setup. However, he was unsure about the Jharkhand cricketer’s abilities as that was the first time Wright heard about him.
“That was obviously when Dhoni had started to come into discussions at the national level. Sourav had very good things to say about him and always encouraged youngsters who came into the set-up.
“But you never know how things would have worked out [for Dhoni had he been picked for the Pakistan tour]. That’s when I first started to hear about him,” the Christchurch-born stated.
MS Dhoni has certainly been fantastic for India: John Wright
The 66-year old hailed MS Dhoni’s ability to read the game and remaining ahead of the opposition, which is brilliant for a captain. Wright feels that the 39-year old he is amongst the finest skippers of the modern era and his records reveal that.
“And Dhoni seemed to be reading the game an over ahead. That’s always a sign of a good, strategic captaincy. He’s obviously one of India’s greatest captains along with one or two in the Modern Era. He has certainly been fantastic for India. His record speaks for itself,” he added further.