“MS Dhoni Was Not The Best Wicket-Keeper…..”: Recalls Ashish Nehra
MS Dhoni made a lacklustre start to his cricketing career. It took him to establish as the wicket-keeper and a finisher but his discipline, composure and passion did wonders to his game. In fact, the former India captain, was not even as good as his peers — Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv Patel — but his batting skills bought him ahead in the pecking order.
Recalling his initial, former India fast bowler Ashish Nehra, revealed what he felt about MS Dhoni during the beginning of his stint with Team India.
MS Dhoni wasn’t the best when he came in: Ashish Nehra
Kiran More and Nayan Mongia were the finest wicket-keepers to have donned the Indian jersey before MS Dhoni could establish himself in international cricket. Nehra, who is brutally honest with his remarks, feels Dhoni was not ahead of his contemporaries but he made a better package.
“Dhoni wasn’t the best wicket-keeper around when he first came in. All those who played before him were really good. He was certainly not a Kiran More or a Nayan Mongia. So it’s not that he was miles ahead of his contemporaries as a wicketkeeper, but he made for a better package. His discipline, passion, composure and confidence made him different,” Nehra told the Times of India.
“Dhoni did what DK and Parthiv couldn’t — make the most of his opportunities. Dhoni may not have been the best-looking batsman or a sound wicketkeeper but he certainly was the best wicketkeeper-batsman. He worked hard on his game, knew what work for him and grew as an impeccable wicketkeeper.”
MS Dhoni’s game-changing century against Pakistan
It took MS Dhoni time to find his natural game. After his initial failures, MS Dhoni went on to hit 148 off 123 balls in an One-Day International (ODI) against Pakistan in Visakhapatanam, to mark his first century in the format. In the match, Nehra also picked up a four-wicket haul, which helped India register a comprehensive victory.
Nehra said, this was the innings, which restored the team’s confidence in Dhoni as a prolific wicket-keeper batsman. He also said, Dhoni cashed in on the opportunity, given to him.
“That innings got the team to believe that we too could have a prolific wicket-keeper batsman,” Nehra told the Times of India. “Dhoni didn’t have a great time in his initial matches. But when a confident man like him gets an opportunity and cashes in, then it’s hard to pull him back.
“Unwavering self-confidence is Dhoni’s strength. That innings was like he had tasted blood and he yearned for more. He hardly ever batted at No. 3 after that innings but he had made a statement that day. We lost all the remaining four matches in that series but we discovered Dhoni.”
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