MS Dhoni has played a number of glorious knocks for India ever since he made his debut back in 2004 against Bangladesh. However, in the very next year, he played in a team, which included Pakistan players in the form of Kamran Akmal, Salman Butt, Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Sami. The Jharkhand-born Dhoni turned out for the Bradman XI in the inaugural Bradman T20 Cup.
The tournament was hosted by the Karnataka State Cricket Association (KSCA) and had six teams- Chemplast, New South Wales, Air India, Bengal Cricket Association XI, Sir Donald Bradman XI and hosts KSCA. Among other big names in the Bradman XI were Dean Jones, Russel Arnold, Upul Chandana, Javagal Srinath and Adam Hollioake.
MS Dhoni was slightly nervous like all domestic players
In the first game, Dhoni could only manage a three-ball five, but came into his own against Chemplast where he smashed 91 off 61 with six fours and as many sixes. It also helped his side win by six wickets with 13 balls to spare at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru.
Talking about the dashing the dynamic Dhoni, Akhil Balachandra, who played for the RCB in the IPL, said that he was a tad awry while facing the spinners.
“MS Dhoni was very new at that time, and he was slightly nervous like all of us domestic players. He did struggle a bit against the spinners in the tournament,” Balachandra was quoted as saying in a chat with Sportskeeda.
Akhil, back then, was one of Karnataka’s most prominent all-rounders. In the final of the Bradman Cup, he churned out an unbeaten 51, but his side lost. In the 2008 IPL, his unbeaten seven-ball 27 took RCB to victory against the Deccan Chargers. As per him, the T20 World Cup in South Africa and the inaugural IPL edition helped Dhoni’s career take off.
“The 2007 T20 World Cup win and the subsequent IPL changed him. Till then he was as insecure as any newcomer in international cricket. Once IPL came and India won the T20 World Cup, his whole confidence soared and from there it was no looking back. There was never a doubt about his ability,” Akhil added.
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