The story dates back to an India vs. Pakistan match held in Kerala, where the crowd fervently chanted “India, India, Sachin, Sachin.” Amidst the electric atmosphere, Dhoni recognized the opportunity to make his mark and solidify his position in the team.
In the lead-up to the India vs. Pakistan game in Kerala, John Wright tasked Sreesanth with bowling in the practice nets. The match in Kochi drew a massive crowd. The fervent chant of “India, India, Sachin, Sachin” echoed throughout the venue as Sreesanth recalled the moment.
“Dhoni bhai came over and talked to us. This is a story I haven’t told anyone else. Dhoni bhai said, “I want to express myself,” as he stood there,” Sreesanth added
“Another Keralan player joined me. We were conversing with Dhoni. We even made a joke about joining the team in a year or two. Yes, definitely, Dhoni replied with a smile. Just keep pushing yourself,” he said.
Sreesanth informed Dhoni during a casual conversation at a dinner party, “Don’t worry. I have a feeling that you’ll soon play well and succeed. I often encourage the players who are on the bench. You won’t believe it, but in his next game, he scored 100. He was given the opportunity and he made a hundred in the Duleep Trophy finals.”
This pivotal moment marked the beginning of Dhoni’s extraordinary journey, as he went on to score consistently for India A and then India.
“When he next had an opportunity in India “A,” he scored a century once more. What a journey, man! Thus, from competing against him in the Duleep Trophy in 2003–04 to sharing two World Cup victories with him. Amazing journey. Because of this, it is said that you should believe rather than hope,” he concluded.