NewsIPL 2023

Dhoni eats butter chicken without the chicken: Uthappa

Robin Uthappa and MS Dhoni have known each other for two decades. Uthappa has witnessed Dhoni’s meteoric rise from close quarters, and fondly recalled the time they spent together in an episode of ‘My Time With Heroes’ titled ‘My Time With Dhoni ft. Uthappa’, which is available exclusively on JioCinema. Uthappa said: “His simplicity is something that’s always been there and it’s something that hasn’t changed. He’s just as simple today as he was the first time I met him. Dhoni is the most uncomplicated person in the world.”

The former India batter shared the story of meeting Dhoni for the first time in 2003. He was batting against Munaf Patel back when he uesd to bowl really fast with the sling action. Other fast bowlers were also bowling. MS was batting and hitting long sixes off them. He actually ended up injuring S Sriram. Sriram was bowling to him and Dhoni stepped out and hit the ball extremely hard. Sriram touched it with his hand and the ball went 10-20 yards back. We thought Sriram was running after the ball, but he ran past it and straight into the dressing room because he broke two fingers. We wanted to see how much power MS has and it was explosive. At that moment, I knew he was going to play for India.

“We always ate together. A group of us: Suresh Raina, Irfan Pathan, RP Singh, Piyush Chawla, Munaf (Patel), MS and me would order dal makhni, butter chicken, jeera aloo, gobi and rotis. MS, however, has a very rigid eating style. The 37-year-old recalled he would eat butter chicken without chicken, only gravy! When he ate chicken, he would not eat the rotis! “He is quite weird when it comes to eating,” he said with a hearty laugh.

Dhoni is a spectacular captain both for India and CSK, and Uthappa explains the reason for this. “He has sharp instincts and he backs his own instincts,” said Uthappa. “That’s why he’s been such a successful captain. He takes responsibility for every outcome, whether it is a win or a loss. If he takes a bad decision because of his instincts, the man can’t sleep for a few days.”

Uthappa also spoke about Dhoni’s other traits. “MS is a very open person. He does not hesitate in speaking the truth, even if it hurts you.” He shared the first conversation he had with Dhoni after the IPL auction a few years ago. “I remember when I was signed by CSK in the auction, he called me and said, ‘I am not sure if you’ll get a chance to play because the season is still far away and I haven’t given it any thought. If you do end up playing, I will let you know.’ By now, I had enjoyed 13 successful years in the IPL. Still, he told me to my face what he had to do. I still appreciate that a lot.”

As Uthappa recalls his time at CSK in Dhoni’s presence: “In the first season, I saw everyone in the squad calling him Mahi bhai. I asked him if I should call him Mahi bhai as well. He said, call me whatever you want, it doesn’t matter. Please call me Mahi only.”

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