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IPL 2024

‘Stop looking at me and bowl’ – Chennai throwdown specialist opens up on first meeting with MS Dhoni

Dhoni had retired from international cricket in 2020

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni (Image Credit : BCCI/IPL)

Former Indian skipper MS Dhoni has earned a lot of fans over the years. In fact, he is one of the main reasons why the Chennai-based franchise have such a huge fan following. Meanwhile, throw-down specialist Kondappa Raj Palani has opened up on his first meeting with the Chennai skipper. Palani joined the team ahead of the 2020 Indian T20 League in the UAE.

At that time, the Ranchi-born player had retired from international cricket. He had asked Palani to throw balls at him. The throw-down specialist said that a lot of bowlers were talking about their skipper’s retirement. He added that coaches such as Stephen Fleming and Mike Hussey had asked him to bowl very carefully to the four-time Indian T20 League title winner. Raj further added that Dhoni had asked him to play naturally.

“The first time, the camp started when Dhoni retired. I saw him for the first time then. He asked if you were the throwers. He asked me to throw balls at him. The team was pleased after that. The net bowlers were speaking about his retirement. After two or three weeks, he came to play sidearm. Everybody was arriving,” said Palani while speaking on the Chennai team’s website.

“Fleming, Hussey, and everyone said Dhoni was coming and asked me to bowl carefully. The first two balls were wides. The next ball was a full toss. Dhoni came to me and said ‘Stop looking at me and bowl’. He asked me to play naturally. I then started bowling wherever he wanted and then he was very happy. He started addressing me every day since with my name,” he added.

In that season, the Yellow brigade didn’t qualify for the playoffs for the first time in the history of the cash-rich league. The story has repeated once again this year and it looks like the team will go through a lot of changes during the next year’s player auction.


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