MS Dhoni is my brother and life coach, says Hardik Pandya ahead of T20 World Cup 2021

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Hardik Pandya (L) with MS Dhoni

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MS Dhoni is my brother and life coach, says Hardik Pandya ahead of T20 World Cup 2021

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SportsCafe Desk

10/18/2021

Hardik Pandya has said that former India captain MS Dhoni is not just the greatest cricketer but also a brother and a life coach for him. The all-rounder added that Dhoni, Team India's mentor for T20 World Cup 2021, understands how he functions and have always supported him in tough times.

Hardik Pandya recalled the time when he was suspended by the BCCI for his inappropriate comments during a talk show named 'Koffee With Karan', saying that he received a call from MS Dhoni after the incident. Pandya during an interview with ESPNcricinfo also revealed how the 40-year-old has been his "money saver" as well. 

"MS was someone who understood me from the start: how I function, what kind of a person I am, what are the things I don't like, everything. When I was picked for the New Zealand series [in January 2019, after the suspension was revoked], initially there were no hotel rooms [for Pandya in New Zealand]. 

"But then I get a call, saying, "You just come. MS has told us, 'I don't sleep on the bed [in any case]. He will sleep on my bed and I will sleep on the floor.'" He [Dhoni] was the first person who has been always there. He called me around the same time I had the conversation with Akash. He knows what kind of an individual I am. He knows me quite deep. I am very close to him. He is the only person who can make me calm. When all this happened, he knew that I needed support. I just needed a shoulder, which he provided multiple times in my cricketing career. I never saw him as MS Dhoni the greatest. For me, Mahi is my brother. I respect and admire the fact that he was there when I needed him the most. He was your first international captain and saved you from getting fined for your celebrations after you took your maiden international wicket. Yeah, he has been my money saver (laughs) from the start," Hardik Pandya said. 

On the occasion of MS Dhoni's 39th birthday, Hardik and his elder brother Krunal had travelled to Ranchi to give Dhoni a surprise. The gesture was heartwarming considering the travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. On being asked about Dhoni's reaction to the surprise, Hardik narrated how the talismanic, who recently won his 4th IPL trophy with the CSK in IPL 2021, knew in adance about his plans. 

"No! (On being asked if Dhoni was surpirsed) Because [someone from the airport staff] called him, saying Hardik and Krunal are coming. So my surprise got spoiled. Before I took off, he is like: "Are you coming here?" I said: "How did you know?" He said: "These charter people told me you're coming. Chal, theek hai, aaja [All right, come over]. "I go there and find him gardening. I asked how his body was and he said his knee hurt a little. I asked why. He says, "I repaired about 50 bikes, and I needed to kneel and squat for it. Now I do it standing up," the 28-year-old said. 

MS Dhoni a darling, he understands where I come from

Further, Hardik Pandya also revealed why Dhoni gives him some extra freedom and as why he is his life coach. 

"Mahi bhai is a darling. There are a lot of things I am allowed [with him], which no one else is. We connect well. Maybe he likes the fact that I never treat him like MS Dhoni. And he understands where I come from. He is like, Okay, yeh kar raha hai toh kuch soch ke kar raha hai [If Hardik is doing something, it's only after he has considered it] type.

"In a certain way, yes (If Dhoni is Hardik's life coach). We have lovely conversations. As I said, only Mahi can make me understand certain things. Sometimes if I get strong-headed and I go into that zone and I believe some things, I have to call him and say, "Yeh soch rahan hoon, kya chal raha hai, batao." [This is on my mind. What do you think?] Then he will explain. So, yes, in a lot of ways he is a life coach. Staying with him, obviously, you learn to be mature, you learn to become humble. I have learned a lot by watching him. He never loses his cool," Pandya concluded. 

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