The Afghanistan star revealed a million-dollar advice from his ‘idol’ MS Dhoni when the duo had a chat during the 2015 World Cup.
Regarded as one of the greatest captains in the history of the game, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is an inspiration to many. The former Indian wicketkeeper-batter led the side to victory in all major ICC tournaments in his captaincy tenure; the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, the ODI World Cup in 2011, the Champions Trophy two years later, and two Test Maces. Dhoni’s achievements as captain are unparalleled so far and it isn’t a surprise that many cricketers – Indians and abroad – look upto him as an inspiration.
One such player is Afghanistan’s Najibullah Zadran, the 29-year-old batter who has represented the country in 82 ODIs and 86 T20Is so far. An integral part of the Afghanistan side in both formats, Zadran is currently plying trade at the International League T20 (ILT20), where he represents the MI Emirates side.
During a conversation about how Dhoni has influenced his playing career, Zadran revealed that the former India captain is his ‘idol’ and further shared a chat that he had with the 41-year-old player during the 2015 World Cup.
“I regard Dhoni as my idol. No one can finish an innings like he used to do. I learnt from him. I spoke to Dhoni at the 2015 World Cup, where he told me to just keep calm and believe in myself even in high-pressure situations. I still believe and follow that advice,” Zadran told MI Emirates in a conversation.
The 2015 edition of the tournament was Afghanistan’s first in their cricketing history. The side beat Scotland in the tournament and finished fifth in its group with one win in six matches.
Dhoni, meanwhile, was the captain of the side in the edition as India reached the semi-finals of the tournament before losing to eventual champions and hosts Australia. Incidentally, Dhoni’s final appearance for India also came in a World Cup semi-final in the next edition in 2019. Since his international retirement, Dhoni features for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.
Zadran side in the ILT20, MI Emirates are currently third in the table with 7 points from 6 matches. The Emirates have won three of those matches and another victory on Sunday will see them leapfrog the Desert Vipers to second place in the table.