MS Dhoni declared himself to the world by scoring 148 runs against Pakistan and then went on to record an unbeaten 183 against Sri Lanka in 2005 which branded him as an aggressive, fearless batsman. However, he soon moderated his approach as the team needed, and changed his image from a big-hitter to a finisher. However, this change was not natural but a result of the scolding of the then India captain Rahul Dravid.
This claim has been made by Virender Sehwag, another veteran of Dravid and Dhoni’s team. Known for his independent batting style, Sehwag says that Dravid once reprimanded Dhoni for getting out on a bad shot early in his career.
The Ranchi-born wicketkeeper-batsman was asked to take on more responsibility, and the same was reflected in his batting when he took over from Dravid after the 2007 ODI World Cup.
“He was given the role of finisher under Dravid, who once scolded him for getting out after playing a bad shot. I think that incident changed that. So around 2006-07, he changed and started taking the responsibility of finishing the match,” Sehwag added. India TV,
Sehwag also recalled how Dhoni’s change in approach helped him manage 16 successful chases in a row India With Yuvraj Singh. Fans still remember how the duo stayed at the crease in the final of the ODI World Cup 2011 against Sri Lanka to end India’s 28-year-old wait for the title.
While Dravid’s mentorship made Dhoni a more responsible batsman, Sehwag also credited Sourav Ganguly for giving up his No. 3 slot for Dhoni in his early days.
Interestingly, Ganguly also gave Sehwag his first position, after which Sehwag became one of the most dangerous openers in history.
Sehwag said that Dhoni was ranked No. 3 when Ganguly was experimenting with the pinch-hitter. According to the 43-year-old, the current BCCI president thought of giving Dhoni three-four chances and then moving on to someone else if that doesn’t work out.
Dhoni, however, grabbed the opportunity with both hands as he displayed his aggressive side against Pakistan at Visakhapatnam in 2005, when he scored 148 off just 123 balls. Chasing 299 later that year, he cemented his position with his memorable knock of 183 against Sri Lanka at Jaipur.