“He ate vegetarian food even though he wasn’t one,” Aakash Chopra recalls MS Dhoni’s generosity as his roommate

MS Dhoni | GettyFormer India skipper MS Dhoni has left a massive impact on the game with his leadership and performances in pressure situations over the years.

Dhoni is the only skipper in the history of cricket to have won all three ICC white-ball trophies – 2007 World T20, 2011 Cricket World Cup and 2013 Champions Trophy. He also led India to the top of the rankings in the longest format of the game.

Dhoni may have called time on his international career in 2020, but he continues to feature in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The 42-year-old captained CSK to a record-equalling fifth IPL title in May this year.

While Dhoni’s success is known to the cricketing world, his time before he broke onto the scene remains untold.

Speaking to JioCinema, former India cricketer Aakash Chopra recalled the time he spent with Dhoni as his roommate during India A’s tour of Zimbabwe and Kenya in 2004.

“As roommates, you need balance. So, I asked him, ‘What time do you want to sleep?’ He said, ‘Whenever you want switch the lights off.’ So, for the whole tour, he slept at 9:30 PM. I don’t know when he usually slept, but with me in the room, he’d sleep at 9:30 PM because I wanted to sleep early,” Chopra stated.

“If I asked him about ordering food, he never picked up the phone and ordered. Poor him, he ate vegetarian food even though he wasn’t one, just because I was vegetarian. He was so shy… He would go down and have pastry to fill his stomach because with me, he was just getting daal-roti,” he added.

Chopra also shed light on Dhoni’s large-heartedness and how he never looked at teammates as rivals.

“He used to bowl to Dinesh Karthik in the nets. I used to ask him, ‘why are you doing this? He is your competition.’ He used to say, ‘No, he isn’t my competition. If you want to bat, you may do so I just wanna bowl’.”

Talking about the moment when he recognized the genius of Dhoni as a batter, Chopra said, “Iftikhar Anjum was a Pakistani bowler and used to bowl at 140 kmph. He (Dhoni) swept him, and since the fine-leg was inside, he got a boundary. The next ball, they put the 3rd man inside and fine-leg back. That was the first time I saw someone hitting a fast bowler for a reverse-sweep boundary. Because the third man was inside, he reverse-swept it for a four. I was like, ‘who is this player?’ Later on, I got my answer. No other wicketkeeper played for the next 10 years for India.”

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