'I was not copybook style' - MS Dhoni opens up on mastering unconventional style of wicketkeeping

'I also started playing tennis ball cricket,' said Dhoni.

MS Dhoni
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MS Dhoni. (Photo Source: Star Sports/Twitter)

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Out of the many talents, former India skipper MS Dhoni is known the most for his unorthodox wicketkeeping style along with his lightning-quick glovework. He was also known for being innovative with a great presence of mind behind the stumps. He boasts an impressive wicketkeeping record of 634 catches and 195 stumpings in his international career.

Like all of the budding cricketers, Dhoni also started out with the tennis ball. He explained that with a tennis ball, wicketkeepers must have soft hands to collect the ball. But with a leather ball, the gloves are already enough cushioned with rubber and cotton, which lets a wicketkeeper just collect and snatch together.

"I also started playing tennis ball cricket,” Dhoni said in a Livfast event recently as quoted by India Today. “When you keep wickets while playing with a tennis ball, it's important to have soft hands. When you have hard hands, the ball slips out. So we all started from there.”

Kiran More helped me a lot with my keeping: MS Dhoni

"As far as wicketkeeping with the leather ball is concerned, I got a lot of help. Initially, when Kiran More was a selector, he used to be around the team. He helped me a lot with my keeping, with my drills. What I really liked was, he understood my wicketkeeping technique was unique and that I was not copybook style," added Dhoni.

Dhoni had a special, unconventional way of stumping the batter that set him apart from others as far as wicketkeeping is concerned. He could collect the ball much closer to the stumps and also knock the bails over, all in one motion, contrary to the conventional way, which is to collect the ball first, taking the hands back, and then make a forward motion towards the stumps to knock off the bails.

"The gloves we have, it has rubber and inside the rubber, there is cotton. So it's already quite soft. So, I don't have to give (receive), I can actually snatch the ball, more often than not," said the former India captain. He also has the record for registering most stumpings in T20Is and third most career dismissals across all three formats.