Former India stumper Kiran More was the chief selector when MS Dhoni was first picked for the Indian team back in 2004. Dhoni was named in the Sourav Ganguly led team on a tour to Bangladesh, after the selection panel was impressed by his batting abilities and keeping skills.
Adam Gilchrist had turned the role of a wicketkeeper-batsman into somewhat of a batsman thanks to his exploits at the top of the order and even India wanted to have a similar keeper in their XI, and that’s where MS Dhoni came into the scene.
Kiran More opened about Dhoni’s selection in Team India and mentioned that despite initial criticism of his glovework at the beginning, Dhoni became one of the best keepers in the world only because of his constant hard work to get better.
“We saw the talent in him. But his ability to work hard and improve made him what he is. He had some problems when he started out. Questions were asked about his wicket-keeping skills. However, he worked very hard on his game and kept getting better with every game,” he said.
Dhoni is rated among the best wicketkeepers to have ever played the sport with 829 dismissals (and counting) in international cricket -- the third-best tally after Mark Boucher (998) and Kumar Sangakarra (905).
More further said, "He played one-days and then went on to play Test cricket. Test cricket came up with a lot of challenges. He realized he had to do a lot of hard work to play Test cricket and that helped his wicketkeeping skills. We wanted to give him more chances. You can't judge a player from just 3-4 games."
Talking about what made MS Dhoni special and effective, More said, "He [Dhoni] is always one step ahead of the game. That makes him effective. Be it standing up to the fast bowlers or working with the spinners when they are bowling, he knew what the others were thinking. He could guess what the batsman was trying to do and the bowler was trying to do. He created chances out of nothing. When nothing was happening in the game, he used to create a run-out chance or a stumping chance."
Dhoni’s evolution from a big hitter to a master finisher makes More proud of his decision taken 16 years ago.
"It's a great feeling when you see someone early in his career, spot him and then he goes to do wonders for the team. He went on to have close to 1000 dismissals,” he said.
Opining on the future of the now 38-year-old former captain’s future in the Indian team, More was unsure of what Dhoni would choose to do but said we must respect whatever decision he takes.
"He has not played international cricket for quite some time. It's difficult for selectors to look at him and make a call. He has to now come out and say what he is going to do. However, MS Dhoni has always played his cricket with responsibility. He knows when to make a call and he will make a call when the time comes. We should respect his decision at the moment,” More signed off.
(India Today inputs)