One and only MS Dhoni! 5 instances of Indian cricketers expressing their utmost admiration for MSD

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Former India captain MS Dhoni. Pic: Getty Images

It has been more than two years since Mahendra Singh Dhoni hung up his boots from international cricket. He is only seen captaining Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League (IPL). If reports are to be believed, the 41-year-old is likely to retire from the T20 league after the 2023 edition. Despite this fact, there seems to have been hardly any fall in his popularity.

In his latest interview, the legend himself tried to decipher why he is so revered. He stated that people connect with him because of the way he plays cricket. According to MSD, when people see him play, they feel like they can also play as he does. He also described his ability to be unorthodox and have lots of fun as one of his greatest strengths.

Not just fans, Dhoni has plenty of admirers in the Indian cricket team itself, especially among the upcoming generation.

On that note, let's look back at five instances of Indian cricketers expressing their admiration for the former Indian skipper.

#1 Ishan Kishan refuses to sign next to Dhoni’s autograph

Ishan Kishan (left) and MS Dhoni. Pic: BCCI
Ishan Kishan (left) and MS Dhoni. Pic: BCCI

In a recent viral video, young Team India batter Ishan Kishan turned down a fan’s request to give his autograph next to Dhoni’s signature on a mobile phone.

The fan insisted on the same, but Kishan made it clear that he would not sign next to the legend’s name. Eventually, Kishan signed below Dhoni’s signature on the phone.

Explaining his reason for doing so, Kishan told the fan:

"Mahi bhai ka hai signature hai, uske upar main kaha se ghus jao? Hum log abhi ham utna pahuchne nahi hai wahan par. Neeche karta hoon (There is Mahi bhai’s signature, how can I sign above it? I haven’t reached that level yet. I will sign below).”

The Jharkhand keeper-batter recently created history when he smashed the fastest double hundred in ODI cricket during the series in Bangladesh.

#2 “No negativity, no blame game” - Ruturaj Gaikwad

Ruturaj Gaikwad (left) and MSD during the IPL. Pic: BCCI
Ruturaj Gaikwad (left) and MSD during the IPL. Pic: BCCI

Young Maharashtra batter Ruturaj Gaikwad is among the many youngsters who have benefited and grown by playing under the Indian legend at Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the Indian Premier League.

During a conversation with Akash Chopra on YouTube, Gaikwad opened up on why MSD is such a great leader.

Hailing his quality of remaining positive in the midst of disappointments, Gaikwad said:

“After having lost a game, everyone used to be somewhat silent for around 15 minutes. But Mahi bhai, after coming back from the presentation, would comfort us, ‘Relax boys, it happens’.
"MS Dhoni ensured that the team spirit stayed the same whether they won or lost. Undoubtedly, there was a lot of disappointment, but there was no negativity, no blame game”

The 25-year-old added that the CSK skipper has a great ability to remain neutral irrespective of how a match panned out. He explained:

“He would inform us that there was a dinnertime plan and that everyone should get ready for it. He would explain to us that it is impossible for CSK to win every game.”

Gaikwad won the Orange Cap in 2021 for smashing 635 runs in 16 matches as CSK lifted the IPL crown for the fourth time.

#3 “Sometimes I miss that guidance” - Kuldeep Yadav on MS Dhoni’s absence

Kuldeep Yadav (L) celebrates a wicket with the former Indian keeper. Pic: Getty Images
Kuldeep Yadav (L) celebrates a wicket with the former Indian keeper. Pic: Getty Images

It is no secret that left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav and leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal flourished as a pair with Dhoni behind the stumps. However, ever since MSD’s retirement, the duo, better known as 'KulCha', have failed to find a permanent place in the Indian team.

In an interview with The Indian Express last year, Kuldeep admitted that he missed Dhoni’s presence behind the stumps, saying:

"Sometimes I miss that guidance because he (Mahi) has great experience. He used to guide us behind the wicket, kept screaming! We miss his experience.
"When Mahi bhai was there, I and Chahal were playing. Ever since Mahi bhai left, Chahal and I haven’t played together. I played only a handful of games after Mahi bhai left.”

Kuldeep’s comments sound relevant in the wake of him being dropped from the playing XI for the second Test against Bangladesh, despite being named Player of the Match in his comeback Test.

#4 “He has been like a mentor to me, on and off the field” - Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant (left) with his mentor and guide. Pic: Getty Images
Rishabh Pant (left) with his mentor and guide. Pic: Getty Images

Rishabh Pant has been pretty candid about the fact that he sees Dhoni as his mentor and guide and that he has also tried to replicate his keeping style.

Shades of MSD can be seen in the manner in which Pant effects stumpings, though the latter still has a long way to go.

In an interview on, Pant admitted that he has learned a lot from the former Indian captain and falls back on him for crucial advice. He said:

“I’ve learned a lot from him as a person and as a cricketer. Whenever he’s around, I feel more confident as a person. If I’ve got any problems I can share them with him and get a solution right away.”

Later in another Instagram live session with Delhi Capitals, Pant hailed the former India captain and stated:

“He has been like a mentor to me, on and off the field. I can approach him freely with any problem I may be facing, and he will never give me the entire solution for it. This is so that I don’t become entirely dependent on him, he gives me hints only that help me solve the issue myself.”
18 years back, MS Dhoni made his International debut and the rest is historyOne of the greatest batter, captain & wicket-keeper in world cricket.

Pant has succeeded Dhoni as keeper-batter in the Indian team and has often been compared to the Indian legend, but has always downplayed the same.

#5 “I received a text from only one person” - Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli (left) and MS Dhoni. Pic: Getty Images
Virat Kohli (left) and MS Dhoni. Pic: Getty Images

Not only the younger generation, but even a legend like Virat Kohli also revealed that he received support only from MSD during his low phase. Kohli quit Test captaincy in January 2022 after India’s series loss in South Africa. He was also under fire over his poor form.

At a press conference during the Aisa Cup, Kohli opened up on how Dhoni was the only one who contacted him after he quit Test leadership. The 34-year-old said:

"When I left Test captaincy, I received a text from only one person that I have played with earlier, and that is MS Dhoni. Many people have my contact number, and there are many people who keep giving suggestions on TV, but I didn't receive a message from any of them.
"So when a connection with any person is genuine enough, it comes out in such a manner, because there is a sense of security on both sides."

Kohli succeeded Dhoni as India’s captain, first in Test cricket and subsequently in the limited-overs formats too.

Also Read: 3 major criticisms of Babar Azam's captaincy

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Edited by Samya Majumdar
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