Stylish Indian opener KL Rahul has said the presence of former skipper MS Dhoni brings a sense of calmness to the dressing room and that he was looking forward to ‘chewing’ the mentor’s brain on everything related to cricket.
The BCCI pulled off a masterstroke while naming India’s squad for the T20 World Cup last month by roping in Dhoni as a mentor for the Virat Kohli-led unit for the marquee event.
Speaking at a Clubhouse session conducted by Red Bull, Rahul said:
“We loved having him in the dressing room when he was the captain, we loved the calmness. We have all looked up to him to help us out, to have him here is amazing.
“This gives us a sense of calmness, I have enjoyed spending time with him in the first two to three days and it has been a lot of fun. Looking forward to chewing his brain about cricket, captaincy, and all things cricket.”
A day after leading the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to their fourth IPL title, Dhoni returned to the Indian dressing room for the first time since the 2019 World Cup semi-final.
The former skipper was spotted having conversations with Kohli, Shreyas Iyer and other cricketers during India’s first warm-up game against England on Monday.
“MS Dhoni back with the team feels amazing” – KL Rahul
There was a lot of speculation leading into the IPL final about whether it would be Dhoni’s swansong in competitive cricket.
When Harsha Bhogle told Dhoni in the post-IPL final presentation that he should be proud of the legacy he’s left behind at CSK, the 40-year-old indicated that he would return as a player next season.
Rahul lauded CSK and captain Dhoni for the manner in which he led the side, admitting that the Super Kings deserved to win the competition.
He also added that Dhoni is as fit as ever and he would love to see his former skipper continue playing for a few more years.
“None of us are sure that IPL 2021 final was his last game. I do not think, I would love to see MS Dhoni play for a lot more years if he could. Yeah, it was great to see how CSK played in the tournament and they were the most deserving to win it.
“Obviously, MS Dhoni back with the team feels amazing because we have played under him and we have looked towards him as a mentor even when he was our captain.”
“I think Dhoni can give any of us stiff competition, he definitely is a guy who can hit the ball furthest, he is very strong and he is good between the wickets. He looks at at the hitters. It is good fun to have him,” said Rahul.
Rahul gave a good account of himself in the first warm-up match as he unleashed his 360-degree strokeplay to brilliant effect against a helpless English attack. The right-hander smashed six fours and three sixes during his 24-ball 51.
India will take on Australia in their second warm-up fixture on Wednesday.