File photo of Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni© BCCI/Sportzpics
Former India captain MS Dhoni has been the guiding force for many budding cricketers. A number of players, both Indian and overseas, have been groomed by Dhon in the Indian Premier League and gone on to make a name for themselves in international cricket. Former Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan narrated an intriguing conversation with Dhoni where he spoke of fellow Afghanistan player Mohammad Shahzad’s admiration for the Indian wicket-keeper batter. Dhoni, giving a cheeky response, said that he would pick Shahzad in the IPL if he goes on to lose 20 kg of weight.
In a chat with the Times of India, Asghar Afghan revealed that the conversation took place after the tied India vs Afghanistan match in the 2018 Asia Cup.
“After the tied match, I had a long chat with MS Dhoni. He is a superb captain and a god’s gift to Indian cricket. He is a nice human being. We spoke about Mohammad Shahzad a lot. I told Dhoni bhai that Shahzad is your big fan. Dhoni said ‘Shahzad has got a big tummy and if he loses 20 kg, I will pick him in the IPL’. But when Shahzad returned to Afghanistan after the series, he gained 5 more kgs (laughs),” he said.
Asghar also opened up on the experience of playing against India, calling it the ‘best moment’ for him.
“The tied match of the 2018 Asia Cup was the best moment for me. That was the best match. Both Afghanistan and Indian fans were in tension. India needed seven runs to win in the last over and Afghanistan needed one wicket to win the match. Rashid bowled the last over.
“When three deliveries were remaining, Jadeja was on strike. Nabi and Rashid came and said, ‘Captain. bring all the players inside the circle or close to Jadeja’. India needed 1 off two balls. I decided to place Najib (Najibullah Zadran) towards mid-on. I told Rashid to bowl leg break and Jadeja was out caught to Najib towards mid-wicket. Rashid was so happy, he hugged me. I knew Jadeja would make some room and (try to) smash the ball and would end up giving the catch. And he did the same. I will give credit to Rashid who bowled well and as per the plan,” he said.
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