Mahendra Singh Dhoni was the captain of the Indian team for almost a decade. He led in as many as 332 games and lifted every single ICC trophy during his captaincy tenure. Thus, he will go down as one of the most successful captains in world cricket. The former Indian skipper continues to lead the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the IPL and is one of the most successful captains in that tournament as well.
One of the standout qualities that Dhoni had was that he backed his players to the tilt. He gave them a certain number of games and backed them to succeed. The likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ravindra Jadeja are some of the examples.
However, there have been players who have been in the squad but haven’t been utilized. In fact, Dhoni often tends to go in with an unchanged side and doesn’t like to tinker a lot. Hence, here we look at five players who were in the squad but were never used by Dhoni in the playing XI.
1. Ishwar Pandey (ODIs and Tests)
Ishwar Pandey. (Photo by Clint Hughes/Getty Images)
Ishwar Pandey may be just 29 years old at the moment but he hasn’t been anywhere in and around Indian cricket. Neither has he made any noise in domestic cricket in the last few years. He has been constantly playing for Madhya Pradesh but has been lackluster.
However, the tall pacer was knocking on the selectors’ door for quite some time in the early 2010s. He did well in the IPL for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and also in domestic cricket. Pandey was the highest wicket-taker in the 2012-13 Ranji season. He followed it up with consistent performances for India ‘A’ as well.
Thus, he was rewarded with a spot in the Indian team that traveled to New Zealand in early 2014. He even played a couple of tour games but could never make it to the XI. Be it ODI cricket or Test cricket, Pandey never featured in the XI under MS Dhoni. He was also picked for the Asia Cup after that series but it wasn’t under Dhoni.
Moreover, he never played a single game in that series as well. Thus, Pandey never played an international game despite being in the squad for two tours.
2. Karn Sharma (ODIs)
Karn Sharma of India. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
It’s been more than 12 years since Karn Sharma made his first-class and List ‘A’ debut. He was born in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh but turned up to play for Railways in 2007 and made a century on first-class debut. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that he was noticed.
Playing for the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the 2013 IPL, Karn formed a potent pair with fellow leggie Amit Mishra to help SRH get to the playoffs in their first season. He followed it up with another good IPL in 2014 and was rewarded with a place in the Indian ODI and T20I squad that toured England. However, the Meerut-born leg-spinner didn’t feature in any of the ODIs as MS Dhoni opted to play Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin.
However, he played the lone T20I on that tour and took 1/28. Moreover, he was thrown in the whites in the 2014 Adelaide Test. He played a couple of ODIs in between as well. However, Karn never played a single ODI under Dhoni.
3. Kuldeep Yadav (ODIs)
Kuldeep Yadav. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
For the more than two years now, Kuldeep Yadav has gone on to become India’s lead spinner in white-ball cricket. However, it was in 2014 he had shot into the limelight. The chinaman had done really well in the Under-19 World Cup. He did get an IPL contract after that but didn’t make his debut.
However, Kuldeep played in the 2014 Champions League for Kolkata Knight Riders and impressed. Thus, he was subsequently picked in the Indian ODI team that played against West Indies in October that year. However, he never played a single game. India won that series 3-1 after which West Indies abandoned the tour due to conflicts with their board.
Thus, Kuldeep had to wait for more than two and a half years to make his international debut. Dhoni may have guided the young wrist-spinner but Kuldeep has never played under Dhoni as captain.
4. N Jagadeesan (IPL)
N Jagadeesan. (Photo Source: TNPL)
N Jagadeesan has been in smashing form in recent times. He has been scoring runs for fun in the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). The Coimbatore-born wicket-keeper batsman has been around for a few years now. The 23-year-old has been a key part of the Tamil Nadu squad as well.
However, he hasn’t made his IPL debut yet. For two years in a row, he has been a part of the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) side for the last couple of years but hasn’t been able to break into the playing XI. With MS Dhoni playing as the wicket-keeper, Jagadeesan has remained on the side-lines and hasn’t even come on the radar.
Though he’s admired the way MS Dhoni goes about things, he has never played under him. Hence, he is making a big statement at the moment as he’s scoring big in the TNPL. Jagadeesan will be hoping that he can make it to the XI next season but for now, he has been one of the players that haven’t been used by Dhoni in the XI despite being in the squad.
5. Baba Aparajith (IPL)
Baba Aparajith. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)
Baba Aparajith found success at a very early age. He made a name for himself in the Under 19 World Cup in 2012 where India won the tournament under Unmukt Chand. He made his first-class debut at the age of 17 later that year. Aparajith has been a regular member of the Tamil Nadu squad since then.
The Chennai-born cricketer is a pretty handy player who can chip in with both bat and ball. In fact, he averages almost 40 in first-class and List ‘A’ cricket. Aparajith was picked up by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in 2012 and was a part of the squad for three years. However, he never played a game. Moreover, when CSK were banned for two years, he was again picked by Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS) where he continued to warm the benches.
Hence, the Tamil Nadu all-rounder never played a single IPL game. MS Dhoni always overlooked him and preferred the others in the team.
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