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MS Dhoni Behind Jharkhand's Success: Shahbaz Nadeem and Ishan Kishan

By: Baidurjo Bhose

Edited By: Amit Kumar

Cricketnext

Last Updated: December 28, 2016, 09:39 IST

Image credit: Getty Images.

Image credit: Getty Images.

Dhoni had joined the Jharkhand outfit as mentor ahead of the domestic season. The move not only gave Dhoni enough practice - post his retirement from Test cricket - but also helped the youngsters in the Jharkhand Ranji team to learn from one of the best in the business.

New Delhi: Ever since being inducted into the domestic circuit in 2004, Jharkhand has shown flashes of brilliance. But 2016-17 has been a dream season for the boys who beat Haryana in the quarter-finals to enter the semi-final stages of the Ranji Trophy – the premier domestic tournament in the country. And the players credit India’s limited-overs skipper MS Dhoni for the success they have achieved this season.

Dhoni had joined the Jharkhand outfit as mentor ahead of the domestic season. The move not only gave Dhoni enough practice — post his retirement from Test cricket — but also helped the youngsters in the Jharkhand Ranji team to learn from one of the best in the business.

And speaking to CricketNext, both Shahbaz Nadeem — the highest wicket-taker this Ranji season with 50 wickets — and Ishan Kishan — former U-19 World Cup winning captain — credited Dhoni for helping the team compete against the best in the business.

“It always helps when you have someone like Dhoni bhai to help you. There is no questioning his tactical acumen and I still remember that going into the game against Maharashtra, the wicket wore a slightly greener look. So Dhoni bhai came up to me and said that I should initially look to restrict the batsmen and use variations only after I have tied them down. The move worked wonders and here I am leading the wicket-takers’ tally,” Nadeem revealed.

For Kishan, it was about changing his stance according to Dhoni’s instructions. And the end result is Kishan sitting at No. 12 in the run-getters’ list with 719 runs from 9 games at an average of 59.91.

“Dhoni bhai saw me at the nets and walked up to me and said that I needed to curtail my attacking instincts to begin with. He believed that to play a long innings I needed to be a little more compact and I did just that. He asked me to change my stance as well and when it comes from someone like Dhoni bhai, you know you can trust his observation.

“I got time to rework my stance and train with my new stance during the camp ahead of the season and I realised that I was feeling a lot better at the crease. I have maintained that stance since and I have seen that it has enhanced my batting,” he revealed.

While batting and bowling is something that every cricketer works on, fitness isn’t something that players, especially in India, are known to focus on till they reach the international level. And that is why Dhoni arranged for a fitness camp. And Kishan says it was the best thing to have happened at the start of the season.

“Dhoni bhai puts a lot of emphasis on fitness. As we all know, he loves to stay at the top of his fitness level. And this time, he ensured that we also worked on our fitness at the start of the season. It was obviously something that wasn’t too common with the domestic teams, but the experience was out of the world.

“To be honest, we have played nine games so far, but we still feel like the season has just started. To be mentally fresh going into the business end of the tournament is very important and we have managed to do that thanks to Dhoni bhai’s efforts,” he concluded.

Jharkhand will take on Gujarat in the second semi-finals, which will be played at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium in Nagpur.

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