MS Dhoni of today is a lot calculated but he used to hit the ball long in the past: Ravi Ashwin

MS Dhoni of today is a lot calculated but he used to hit the ball long in the past: Ravi Ashwin

Ravi Ashwin played with MS Dhoni at the Chennai Super Kings between 2009 and 2015.

Chennai Super Kings
Chennai Super Kings skipper MS Dhoni during a practice session. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)

In 2008, MS Dhoni was bought by the Chennai Super Kings franchise and subsequently made the captain of the team. 12 years later, Dhoni is undoubtedly the most successful IPL captain. Chennai has never failed to qualify for the knockout stage. A record which the franchise has held onto for an incredible amount of time. During this journey, Dhoni had several good players around him whom he backed and who delivered for him. One of them was Ravi Ashwin.

The Tamil Nadu cricketer was signed up by Chennai in 2009 and became an instant hit at the franchise. Dhoni backed him appropriately and the off-spinner responded well. He, later on, went on to become Dhoni’s trump card spinner for the Indian team after the 2011 World Cup. In a recently released interview, Ashwin recalled his initial days at the franchise.

MS Dhoni of today is a lot more calculated: Ravi Ashwin

The off-spinner from Chennai talked about the time when Dhoni would bat in the nets against him and Muttiah Muralitharan. The legendary Sri Lankan spinner was part of the CSK team for the three seasons. Like Ashwin, Dhoni used Muralitharan quite well in the T20 format to extract the best results.

“I would be waiting in the queue at the MA Chidambaram stadium where there was a net behind the stadium and one where they practice right next to the match turf. So MS and Suresh always batted at the center. Queuing up to bowl to them at the center was some sort of a yardstick. We didn’t always get to do that. But when I did that for the first time, I was bowling alongside Muttiah Muralitharan.R

Every time Murali bowled to MS, MS hit the ball long. MS of today is a lot more calculated but I have seen him back then where he used to whack every single ball and every time Murali dragged the length back, MS hit it farther. There were at least 5-6 balls that scaled the roof of the MA Chidambaram stadium. I hadn’t seen anybody hit the ball that far and that was very new in that era. To hit sixes was something we weren’t taught as youngsters,” Ashwin said during an episode of ‘Cricbuzz in Conversation’, hosted by Harsha Bhogle.

After playing for Chennai from 2009 till 2015, Ashwin had to move to now-defunct Rising Pune Supergiant when CSK was banned for two years. After this, Ashwin was paid a hefty amount by Kings XI Punjab ahead of 2018 IPL for leading the franchise. He captained them for two seasons and after moderate results, he shifted to Delhi Capitals.

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