‘Rahul Dravid had kept for 75 ODIs’: Kiran More reveals why MS Dhoni was picked in the Indian team
MS Dhoni changed the dynamic of the Indian team and the manner in which wicketkeeping was perceived with his big hitting upon his arrival in international cricket. Dhoni made his India debut in December of 2004, against Bangladesh in an ODI and although he was run out for a duck, he went on an upward graph second to none, becoming India’s most successful captain and a destructive batsman with over 15000 runs for the country.
Former BCCI chairman of selectors Kiran More has revealed an interesting anecdote regarding Dhoni and the circumstances in which he was picked in the Indian team. Before Dhoni, India were shuffling wicketkeepers in Tests, while Rahul Dravid was keeping wicket in ODIs. He had kept wicket for India in 73 ODIs and had a pretty decent record, taking 71 catches and completing 13 stumpings.
However, with Dravid set to enter the next phase of his career, the Indian selectors felt it was time for them to give Dravid a break in order for him to focus in his batting and look for someone who could become a permanent solution to India’s wicketkeeping conundrum. The likes of Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Karthik were around but due to his big-hitting abilities, More revealed India picked Dhoni.
“Rahul Dravid had already kept in 75 One-day Internationals, so we were looking for a wicketkeeper-batsman who could whack the ball and we could give Rahul a respite,” More told WV Raman on his podcast ‘Inside Out’.
Before Dhoni, India had Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh, who could really hit the ball big, but with Dhoni’s arrival in 2004, the landscape of Indian cricket changed. He scored a brutal 148 against Pakistan his first ODI century and followed it with 148 for his maiden Test ton. The same year, he pummelled a career-best 183 not out against Sri Lanka, which remains the highest individual score by a wicketkeeper batsman in ODIs.
“There was surely something special about the way he approached the game. We picked him for India A to Kenya, where he had a good tour and scored over 600 runs. We already had players like Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh but when Dhoni came, he was a complete package and took the Indian cricket by storm,” More further recalled.