Former India head coach Gary Kirsten has recently narrated an incident depicting ex-India captain MS Dhoni’s loyalty towards his team members.
The incident Kirsten talked about was during the prelude of the 2011 ODI World Cup held in India. As a part of the trip to Bangalore (now: Bengaluru), the team had to visit a flight school.
However, in the morning of the event Kirsten and two other South African nationals in his support staff, Eric Simmons and Paddy Upton, were denied entry due to security concerns.
“One of the most impressive people I have met, he is a great leader of people, he’s got an incredible presence as a leader, but the most important thing is that he is loyal,” Kirsten said on ‘The RK Show’ on Youtube.
After being denied entry, Dhoni decided to cancel their visit, which highlighted his loyalty towards Kirsten and Co.
“I’ll never forget, just before the World Cup, we were invited in Bangalore to go to the flight school, to go and kind of have a look at that. Obviously, we had a couple of foreigners in our support staff, and we got word back on the morning before the whole team was meant to go – and everyone was looking forward to the event – that the three South Africans, which were myself, Paddy Upton and Eric Simmons, weren’t going to be allowed into the flight school because it was seen as a potential security risk,” Kirsten recalled.
“So MS cancelled the whole event. He just said, ‘These are my people. If they’re not allowed in, none of us are going’. And that was what he was about,” Kirsten said.
The Proteas veteran went on to state that Dhoni’s behaviour towards him did not alter with match results.
“He was very loyal to me, and I think he saw as well, there were times when we didn’t always win games and we’d have some tough times. We’d spend a lot of time, just one on one together, talking through, taking the team forward. I think we built a strong relationship in the three years we had together,” Kirsten concluded.