SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) batter Rahul Tripathi has revealed some of his on and off-field interactions with MS Dhoni over the years in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Tripathi made his IPL debut under Dhoni for the now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant in 2017. In an interview with News18, he revealed how Dhoni kept him calm before the big match. Tripathi also remarked that the legend always treats his teammates like younger brothers, guiding them through their highs and lows.
“I still remember when I was on my IPL debut, he came and said, “jaise nets me khel rahe ho, bilkul waise hi khelo” (Play as you play in nets). He treats every player as his younger brother. He guided me throughout the tournament in 2017."
Tripathi also remembers getting scolded and being asked to "push hard" by Dhoni and also consulting him after the duo went to different teams in 2018. He said:
"Sometimes he scolded me as well. ‘Push hard….do this’. Like when I was playing for Rajasthan Royals and KKR, I used to consult him whenever I got time. “Kya kar rahe ho,”(What are you doing these days) he always used to ask me."
The 2017 was a breakthrough year for Tripathi as he impressed all and sundry with his sizzling aggressive batting style, scoring 391 runs from 14 games at an average of 27.13 and a strike rate of 146.44. He was picked up by the Rajasthan Royals for the next two seasons and then by the Kolkata Knight Riders for 2020 and 2021.
His impact at KKR was such - 397 runs, including a match-winning six-under pressure in the 2021 Qualifier 2 - that SRH broke the bank for him in the IPL 2022 auction. They beat KKR and the Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in a bidding war to rope in the uncapped right-hander for a whopping ₹8.50 crore.
“Koi nai, aj tumhara day nahi tha" - MS Dhoni's message to Rahul Tripathi during the IPL 2021 final
KKR lost to CSK in the IPL 2021 final, collapsing from 91-0 to 164-9 in the chase, and falling short by 27 runs. Tripathi, who batted brilliantly at No.3 throughout the season, pulled his hamstring in the first innings and could only come to bat at No.8. He limped his way through a short stay, scoring a painful 2 (3).
The 30-year-old revealed that after the innings, Dhoni was the first to console him on the field and then after the match as well. He said:
“I had a hamstring injury and therefore, I came in lower down the order. I couldn’t score runs, I was really struggling to run between the wickets. After I got out, Mahi bhai tapped on my back and said: “Koi nai, aj tumhara day nahi tha, But tune hundred percent try kiya”(It wasn’t your day, but you gave your hundred percent). I was feeling very down since we lost the final, but Mahi bhai came after the game also and spoke to me for a minute or so.”
Tripathi is currently representing Maharashtra in the Ranji Trophy 2021-22. The IPL 2022 season is slated to kick off in the last week of March.
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