Many players would reckon it’s always better to be on the same team as MS Dhoni. Otherwise, if you are in the opposition camp, and you have to come up against MS Dhoni, be it as a batsman or a bowler, it could be “irritating” and “very annoying” as Robin Uthappa found it on several occasions.
For someone who played alongside Dhoni, for India and CSK, and also against Dhoni, for KKR and RR, Robin Uthappa has got the idea of both, of how it feels when you are alongside the master tactician and when you are up against a beast of a batsman and captain that the Ranchi-born is.
Robin Uthappa enjoyed some of his most glorious moments in the same team as Mahendra Singh Dhoni – they both won the 2007 T20 World Cup and the IPL 2021 – and he also was up against Dhoni for a long time in the IPL when playing for his other franchises.
Talking about Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Jio Cinema, Robin Uthappa, now a commentator after retiring from the IPL, recalled one of the games in the IPL 2020, when he was playing for the Rajasthan Royals against CSK.
“When I played against CSK, I used to be very annoyed. I was very irritated with him. (Narrating an incident playing on-screen) He didn’t have a fine leg for Hazlewood, so I knew he will bowl to this angle (outside-off). I tried getting a boundary there (deep point) and got out. He forces you to play in areas where you’re not used to playing,” Uthappa said.
“He plays with the batsman’s mind. He not just forces the batsmen to think differently, he forces the bowlers to think differently as well. He puts the bowler in a situation where he feels that he needs to take that wicket-taking option.”
Recalling another incident when MS outfoxed the in-form Devdutt Padikkal, Uthappa reckoned the CSK skipper doesn’t shy away from taking the risky option and instead puts the pressure on the batter with his brave tactics.
“Devdutt was playing the pick-up shot really well. So he said, ‘okay, we will force him to play that shot’, and he brought the fine leg more into a leg-gully sort of a position. I was like, ‘where does he come up with these things?’” Uthappa recalled.
The IPL 2022 is likely to be the last season of MS Dhoni as a player
MS Dhoni is currently leading CSK in IPL 2022, where CSK lost their first match against GT but bounced back to win their first home match, against LSG.