Balaji reveals his casual chat with MS Dhoni after the latter announced his retirement on August 15.
Balaji and Dhoni were present at the MA Chidambaram Stadium for a training camp.
Lakshmipathy Balaji, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bowling coach, had revealed that he was absolutely unaware of MS Dhoni’s retirement as the latter came and had a casual chat with him, minutes after announcing his retirement through a video montage on Instagram.
Balaji, who has been with the Chennai-based franchise since 2008, first as a fast bowler and now as a bowling coach, said that the former Indian skipper talked with him in a usual nonchalant way as nothing has happened a moment ago.
“After practice gets over, I normally talk a lot to Dhoni about the wicket, about practicing and playing conditions. So that day, I finished practice and I went inside. I did not realize that he had already put his retirement message at 7:29 pm,” Balaji said on Star Sports‘ show Cricket Connected.
“So, after posting the message, Dhoni walked up to me as usual and he casually told me that he had asked the groundsman to water the ground extra for the pitch. I said okay. And I didn’t realize anything, it was a huge moment in his life. But, just like that he moved on, and that’s Dhoni for you,” he added.
Balaji remarked that he was awe-struck after hearing the news of Dhoni’s retirement, and he couldn’t fathom the shocking news initially.
“I finally realized he announced his retirement. It took some time for me to sink in the moment. Dhoni’s uniqueness is the way he is detached. He will never stop no matter what the situation is, and moves on in his own style.”
‘His leadership changed the perception among all captain’- Balaji
The former pacer further added that the captaincy tenure of Dhoni changed the perception of the game. Dhoni is the only captain to have won all three ICC trophies – 2007 T20 World Cup, 50-over World Cup in 2011, and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
“His leadership changed the perception of leadership among all captains. The way he maintains his emotion on the field, maintaining the team environment and camaraderie, leading the team successfully, only MS Dhoni could do it,” concluded Balaji.