When Dhoni's biopic was released, Mohammad Kaif's name had been associated with MS Dhoni quite a few times as the movie had a mention of Kaif. However, the mention was not that much likable for the former Indian cricketer. Dhoni got out without scoring in his debut international match and eventually it was Kaif, who was at the non-striker’s end. Since then, both the cricketers had a great bond between them and their maturity has evolved significantly.
Kaif writes a blog for Cricket Talkies and in one of his recent blogs for them, he recalled his first memories of Dhoni during his leadership tenure for Central Zone in 2004, Kaif wrote, “Captaining the Central Zone in 2004, I had my first chance of meeting a strapping youngster from the hinterland of Jharkhand. Our eyes met the first time in the team bus. But, words were not spoken. Cut to a year later, and MS Dhoni is run out in what is his debut for India. I am the man at the other end. Once again, we don’t speak a word to each other."
Well, sooner than later Kaif came to know that Dhoni was a man of few words. Moreover, he was a good listener than a plausible talker. Describing that, Kaif wrote, “Months passed, as I learned that he was indeed a man of few words. Not arrogant, just shy. It became a common sight to see MS at the back of the team bus, speaking only to a fixed set of players, his close friends. An introvert who preferred the company of a few…But team meetings remained a place he would hardly ever speak. He would listen attentively, but seldom talk."
Commending MS Dhoni's leadership skills, Kaif wrote, “In my view, he is the sharpest cricketing brain I have seen on the cricket field. I am not sure how he did as a student of math at school, but his calculations on the field were 10/10. From his orthodox field placements to his unusual bowling changes, to planning his run chases down to a T, he had all the angles covered."
Kaif conceded that he had seen brilliant knocks from many players in his cricketing career but none was better than Dhoni's 148 against Pakistan at Vishakapatnam. Kaif described that it was the day when Dhoni's journey of becoming the legend had started. He wrote, “I had seen batsmen clearing boundaries with such ease in gully cricket, but never before had I seen someone do it with the consistency that MS was doing in Vizag that day. Mind you, I say this having played alongside some of the most destructive batsmen in one-day cricket; the likes of Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, and Virender Sehwag. That was the day, the legend of MS Dhoni was born.”
The former Indian cricketers rested his words by hoping that Dhoni would be keeping his fans amazed through his performances. He wrote, “Here’s hoping the man who’s surprised me more than once during his playing career, has one final trick up his sleeve. Go on MS Dhoni, at 35 years of age, prove to us that age is just a number."