“Sourav Ganguly Hadn’t…” Ex-Selector On Why MS Dhoni Missed 2004 Pakistan Tour

File photo of MS Dhoni© Twitter

Former BCCI selector Saba Karim revealed that he had pitched MS Dhoni‘s name for India’s squad which travelled to Pakistan in 2004 but it did not work out as then skipper Sourav Ganguly had not seen him in action. During a recent interaction, Saba talked about how he saw Dhoni perform for Bihar and was impressed by the determination shown by the ex-India skipper. Dhoni was not selected for the 2003-04 series against Pakistan but in 2004, he went on to make his ODI debut against Bangladesh. He was also a part of the India squad for the 2005 home series against Pakistan.

“The first time I saw MS Dhoni, it was his second year in the Ranji Trophy. He used to play for Bihar. I saw him batting and keeping, and I still remember while he was batting, he had that brilliance which we even saw later, playing big lofted shots to a spinner or a pace bowler. For wicket-keeping, the footwork that one should have was lacking a bit. We worked with him on this at that time, and MS Dhoni’s greatness lies in this that he still remembered what he was taught then. When we would chat, he’d speak about it. It was a turning point in MS’ career where he actually got going. In one-dayers, we started to let him open because his batting was so strong and he used to get quick runs,” he said on JioCinema.

“The second turning point was the tri-series in Kenya between India ‘A’, Pakistan ‘A’, and Kenya. MS Dhoni got an opportunity to play because Dinesh Karthik was joining the national team. There, MS kept the wickets well and for batting don’t even ask! We played against Pak ‘A’ twice and he batted so well in the series.”

“From there it was a turning point in his career and after that, his name was in the reckoning. I even remember I was in Calcutta at that time, and Sourav (Ganguly) was the captain. I went to meet him and I told him there is this keeper who should come into the Indian team because he was batting so well and was such a safe keeper. Unfortunately, Sourav hadn’t seen MS play just before we toured Pakistan, and he wasn’t selected for that tour. But he was after that,” he added.

(With ANI inputs)

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