‘Dhoni didn’t have a great time in his initial matches, but...’: Ashish Nehra recalls MS Dhoni’s 1st ODI century
Dhoni scored his first international exactly 15 years ago in an ODI against Pakistan in Visakhapanam. He hammered 148 off 123 balls and Nehra’s four-wicket haul later in the match helped India win by 58 runs.Updated: Apr 05, 2020, 11:23 IST
Former India fast bowler Ashish Nehra believes MS Dhoni signalled his arrival at the international stage after a rather jittery start when he smashed his first century against Pakistan at Visakhapatnam. India’s former captain scored his first international exactly 15 years ago in an ODI against Pakistan in Visakhapanam. He smashed 148 off 123 balls and Nehra’s four-wicket haul later in the match helped India win by 58 runs.
As per Nehra, this innings gave the management the confidence that India had found a good wicket-keeper batsman at a time when they were looking to relieve Rahul Dravid of wicket-keeping duties.
“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.”
Nehra also added that although, Dhoni was behind in the pecking order as a wicket-keeper, his batting skills put him above the likes of Dinesh Karthik and Parthiv Patel.
“Dhoni wasn’t the best wicketkeeper 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.
“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.”