Without a doubt, India’s wicketkeeper batsman MS Dhoni is one of its kind – be it on or off the field. He is known for his street smartness behind the stumps and also during the intense chases. Moreover, Dhoni is the only captain in the history of cricket to have won all the three ICC trophies – 2007 World T20, 2011 Cricket World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy.
One of the notable things during Dhoni’s 9-year long captaincy tenure was that whenever he used to collect the trophy after winning the series/tournament, he used to hand it over to a newcomer in the squad. No wonder, cricket fans and experts still sing praises of Dhoni leadership qualities and utter modesty.
Dhoni might no longer be the Indian captain but he did the same during the recently concluded Asia Cup. Just after India defeated Bangladesh and clinched the 2018 Asia Cup title, Dhoni walked up to stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma and asked him to let the youngest member of the squad, Khaleel Ahmed, hold the trophy.
In his recent interview with TOI, Khaleel revealed: "Dhoni bhai asked Rohit Sharma to let me hold the trophy on the dais. He gave me the trophy because I was the youngest member in the team and it was my debut series. It was a memorable experience for me."
"When Dhoni bhai and Rohit asked me to hold the winning trophy, I had no words. I became emotional and will never forget that moment," he added.
Khaleel played two matches in the Asia Cup – against Hong Kong and Afghanistan. Playing his debut ODI match against Hong Kong, the left-armer scalped three wickets by conceding 48 runs.
Sharing the experience of his debut game, Khaleel said: "After we posted 259 against Hong Hong, their openers got off to a brilliant start. A 150-run opening stand was something we didn’t expect. They were hammering me. I had tried almost everything but nothing was working out."
“Dhoni walked up to me and said 'pace maintain kar ke rakh aur thoda aage daal' (maintain your pace and bowl a bit forward). I tried it twice and it worked for me. Finally, I managed to break the opening stand. We all are lucky to have Dhoni in the team," he continued.
For Khaleel, the Asia Cup is just the start and the 20-year-old is now targeting the limited-overs series against the West Indies at home.
"I am happy with the way I performed in the Asia Cup. I hope to play against West Indies at home. Hope I have impressed the selectors. I am excited to play under Virat Kohli," Khaleel Ahmed concluded.