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8 Months After Path-Breaking Tour Of Kenya, MS Dhoni Was Ridiculed By Pakistan Players And Coach For Getting Out On 3

Gurpreet Singh

8 Months After Path-Breaking Tour Of Kenya, MS Dhoni Was Ridiculed By Pakistan Players And Coach For Getting Out On 3

Unlike almost all budding talented batters who graduate to play for India, former India captain MS Dhoni wasn’t the one who would make jaws drop in admiration with his cover drive. Be it former BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) chief selector Kiran More’s insistence to have him play a Duleep Trophy final, or former India captain Sourav Ganguly‘s decision to have him bat at No. 3 despite a few initial low scores, it was as if destiny was busy aligning the stars perfectly for this wicket-keeper batter from Ranchi.

Possessing a unique batting style and arriving at the international scene with the reputation of being a brutal hitter of the leather ball, Dhoni had to come up with something special for fans to convince them that he was there to stay. The disbelief in his unorthodox technique was such that former Pakistan head coach Bob Woolmer and other Pakistani players touring India in 2005 just couldn’t fathom that he had an excellent tour of Kenya (triangular series also involving Pakistan A) representing India A the previous year.

MS Dhoni Was Ridiculed By Pakistan Players And Coach For Getting Out On 3

Former Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who was Pakistan A’s captain in Kenya eight months before their tour of India in 2005, once narrated an incident of how Dhoni was ridiculed by his fellow teammates when the latter got out on 3 during his maiden international match against Pakistan.

During an interaction with A Sports around nine months ago, Misbah recollected how Woolmer and some players had a nice laugh at their pacer Ifthikhar Anjum, who had made them aware of Dhoni’s big-hitting abilities before the series, after the right-handed batter had got out cheaply in the first ODI. It is worth of a mention that Anjum was also a part of the Pakistan A side in Kenya, and had witnessed Dhoni smack the leather from ground zero.

During the interaction (video below), Misbah had incorrectly claimed that Dhoni was sent in to bat at No. 3 in Kochi. In reality, he had batted at No. 7 right before receiving a promotion from Ganguly.

“It was Pakistan’s tour [of India] and Bob Woolmer was our coach. Rao Iftikhar [Anjum] was also in our team. Rao told Bob Woolmer that he [Dhoni] is a very dangerous batter, beware of him. So, the very first match, Dhoni got out cheaply. So, Bob Woolmer and the rest of the Pakistan players began teasing Rao, while exclaiming how on earth he, and the rest of the bowlers in the team were humbled by this particular batter!

“Now, in the next match, Dhoni arrived at No.3 and smashed a 150 [148]. Rao then gave it back to Bob Woolmer and the rest of us exclaiming, ‘This is how he had hit us back then!’.”

Playing his fifth ODI and the second match of the series in Vishakhapatnam, Dhoni went berserk at the Pakistani bowlers, hitting 15 fours and four sixes at a strike rate of 120.32. Dhoni, who had achieved the status of an overnight star, was now even recognized by his bat owner’s wife on the back of registering his first century at the highest level.

Why Was India’s Tour Of Kenya 2004 Special For MS Dhoni?

MS Dhoni’s tour of Kenya was indeed a path-breaking one in real sense of the term. He had emerged as the highest run-scorer in the series with 362 runs across six innings at an average of 72.40. He had smashed two centuries and a half-century, each one of them against Pakistan A. Mere four months later, in December 2004, he had made his India debut against Bangladesh.

In the above video, however, Misbah claims (perhaps casually) that Dhoni had hit two scores of 150+ against his team across three matches. Having said that, India A had faced-off against Pakistan A four times during the series, and Dhoni had returned with scores of 70, 120, 119*, and 15.

About the author

Gurpreet Singh

Gurpreet Singh


Gurpreet Singh is a Cricket writer at The Sportsrush. His platonic relationship with sports had always been there since childhood, but Cricket managed to strike a special, intimate nerve of his heart. Although his initial dream of playing the sport at the highest level couldn't come to fruition, Gurpreet did represent the state of Jharkhand at the under-14 level. However, almost like taking a pledge to never let the undying passion for Cricket fade away even a tad, he made sure to continue the love relationship by assigning the field of journalism as an indirect Cupid. He thus, first finished his bachelor's in journalism and then pursued the PG Diploma course in English journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC). Soon after and since 2019, he has been working at The Sportsrush. Apart from sports, he takes keen interest in politics, and in understanding women and gender-related issues.

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