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He was just butchering the Pakistani attack: Kaif recalls Dhoni’s stunning knock

The 39-year-old stated that Dhoni’s scintillating knock made him realise that the wicketkeeper-batsman was going to have a long and successful career

PHOTO: AFP

India’s former cricketer Mohammad Kaif, in an interview with the Times of India, recalled former Indian captain MS Dhoni’s 148-run knock against Pakistan at Visakhapatnam in 2005 while claiming that the wicketkeeper-batsman butchered the Men in Green’s attack during the encounter.

The 39-year-old stated that Dhoni’s scintillating knock made him realise that the wicketkeeper-batsman was going to have a long and successful career.

“When he (Dhoni) got run out against Bangladesh, no one knew about his match-finishing and match-winning capabilities. His first two-three innings weren’t so good, but then he got that chance in Vizag against Pakistan,” Kaif said.

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“Hitting the ball is one thing and tearing the ball apart by brute force is another. He was just butchering the Pakistani attack apart. I hadn’t seen anyone batting like that till that time. So it was a good move to promote him to the number 3 spot,” the former India batsman added.

Kaif revealed that he could see the X-factor Dhoni had during their first encounter, two years before the Indian juggernaut made his debut.

“I first saw Dhoni playing when I was the captain of the Central Zone in the Deodhar Trophy and he was playing for the East Zone, about two years before his international debut. We had made about 360 and he came at the number 3 spot to bat. We thought of attacking him, but he made 80-85 runs in the match off just 40-50 balls. So I had realized that time he [Dhoni] has that X-factor and a unique playing style and a great understanding of the game,” he said.

“But before that, I had first heard about Dhoni from a friend who had seen him playing on TV, playing for India A, doing wicket-keeping with goggles on, has long hair and has that X-factor. Then soon, I got the chance of playing with him,” he further stated.

Kaif represented India in 13 Tests and 125 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) scoring 624 runs and 2753 runs in each format, respectively.