Former Indian wicket-keeper Deep Dasgupta, who played eight Tests for India between 2001 and 2002, revealed that he was never jealous of Dhoni’s success as he knew that the Jharkhand man was a superior cricketer. Dhoni’s emergence shut the door of Dasgupta making a national comeback.
A technically sound glovesman who was capable of scoring a few gritty runs with the bat, Deep Dasgupta made his Test debut in 2001, at a time when India were chopping and changing wicket-keepers for fun. Dasgupta started his career off in fine fashion, scoring a fifty away in South Africa and a century at home versus England inside his first three Tests, but an extended lean run with the bat saw the Bengal wicket-keeper lose his spot to Ajay Ratra, who then lost it to Parthiv Patel.
Ratra, Patel and then Dinesh Karthik failing to seal their spots gave a ray of hope for Dasgupta to make a national return, but the emergence of MS Dhoni in 2005/06 sealed the fate of the Kolkata-born wicket-keeper.
Speaking to First Post, Dasgupta, however, said that he was never frustrated by watching Dhoni succeed, for the simple fact that he knew that the Jharkhand lad was a better cricketer.
"Dhoni's success never frustrated me, and there are two reasons for that. First, he was a very nice guy, and secondly, he was better than me, or all of us. I believe if someone is better than you, you just accept it and move on. You obviously compete, but if someone is better than you, you just have to accept it," Dasgupta told First Post.
Dhoni, in a way, revolutionized the art of wicket-keeping via his idiosyncrasies through the course of his career and what it meant was a lot of young keepers around the world tried replicating his style and technique - rather unsuccessfully. Dasgupta feels that young keepers try replicating Dhoni’s technique without understanding their own game and that, according to him, is why they fail to make progress. The 43-year-old also added that Dhoni’s career is ‘worth studying’.
"A lot of wicketkeepers look to emulate him without understanding their game or strengths. As a 'keeper, you can look to take your hands towards the ball to save the extra fraction of second, but the timing of when you close your hand is a very important aspect of that act. Kids can look to practice that, but it is equally important to understand what worked for Dhoni was that he had very soft hands and his timing was impeccable.
"His career is worth studying. It may be difficult to replicate, but if you look at the fundamentals on which he based his career, it will serve as a brilliant teacher."