Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been an influential figure for a lot of cricketers. The effect of playing under the captaincy of such a personality has had a positive impact on them in their career. On Thursday, India and Chennai Super Kings middle order batsman Kedar Jadhav was the latest to adhere to the same, saying on an Instagram Live Session conducted by CSK’s official Instagram handle that he owes a lot to the Ranchi born World Cup winning captain who backed him throughout his career and helped him play so many One Day Internationals (ODIs) for the country.
The 35 year old Jadhav, hailing from Pune, said that growing up, like every other young aspiring cricketer, he idolized Sachin Tendulkar, but once he met Dhoni and played under him, he cannot visualize anyone else but the wicketkeeper batsman as his favourite cricketer.
“Growing up, Sachin (Tendulkar) was my idol like every aspiring cricketer. I regret I could not play with him. But when it comes to favourite cricketer, it has to be Dhoni.” He said
He continued, “When I met Mahi bhai I thought he is India’s captain and he would be very strict. After meeting him, I don’t see any other image when it comes to favourite cricketer.”
Jadhav talked about how Dhoni backed him to play more matches for India and the confidence that he gained from that.
“I could have played 8-10 ODIs but Mahi bhai supported me and he had a calming effect on me. When I see him I get confidence and if you get that from your captain, it helps a lot,” he said.
Jadhav went on to talk about his side arm bowling action too, saying that he first attempted it in the ODI series against New Zealand back in 2016 and it paid off.
He said, “I tried it at the nets. That time Anil (Kumble) bhai was the coach and he said no it’s legal. Then in the 1st ODI, I got Jimmy Neesham out (caught and bowled). That was my first wicket and then Mahi bhai gave me the confidence that I can bowl. I had not bowled much in domestic cricket also. But it was because of him that I got confidence.”
Jadhav claims to be a die hard fan of Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, so much so that after completing his maiden ODI hundred against Zimbabwe, Jadhav celebrated by performing one of the film star’s dance moves.
So, when Jadhav was asked to pick between the Bollywood superstar and Dhoni, he replied, “Because of M.S. Dhoni I got to play however many matches I played and also because of Mahi bhai I got to meet Salman Khan. So I can’t pick between the two. It’s like asking to choose between Mum and Dad.”
Kedar Jadhav has had a good run over the last few years, as he played 73 ODIs, scoring 1389 runs at an average of 42.1 since making his debut back in 2014 against Sri Lanka. He has 6 fifties and 2 hundreds to his name. He has also taken 27 wickets in ODIs with his side arm slinging off breaks. After being dropped from the squad for the ODI series against South Africa which was postponed due to COVID-19, and the emergence of middle order batsmen like Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, and with the likes of Suryakumar Yadav performing well in domestic Cricket, the future for Jadhav looks bleak, although it does not look like he will have any regrets.