MS Dhoni’s fitness advice to Afghan cricketer: “Lose 20 kg and I will pick you in IPL”

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MS Dhoni

Former India captain and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) skipper MS Dhoni is known for his high standards of fitness and his ability to lead from the front. Even at the age of 42, Dhoni continues to be one of the most successful captains in the Indian Premier League (IPL), having won five titles with CSK, the latest one in 2023.

However, not many know that MS Dhoni also has a sense of humour and a knack for spotting talent. This was revealed by former Pakistan captain Mohammad Asghar Afghan, who shared an anecdote from the 2018 Asia Cup, where India and Afghanistan played a thrilling tie in an ODI match at the Dubai International Stadium.

Afghan, who was the captain of Afghanistan at that time, said that he had a long chat with Dhoni after the match, and they discussed about Afghan’s teammate Mohammad Shahzad, who is a big fan of Dhoni. Shahzad, who is a wicketkeeper-batsman like Dhoni, is also known for his aggressive batting and his bulky physique.

“I told Dhoni bhai that Shahzad is your big fan. Dhoni said Shahzad has got a big tummy and if he loses 20 kg, I will pick him in the IPL. But when Shahzad returned to Afghanistan after the series, he gained 5 more kgs (laughs),” Afghan told Times of India in an exclusive interview.

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MS Dhoni’s fitness advice to Afghan cricketer: "Lose 20 kg and I will pick you in IPL" 2

Afghan said that MS Dhoni was a “superb captain and a god’s gift to Indian cricket” and a “nice human being”. He also said that the tied match against India was one of the best moments of his career, as it showed the potential of Afghanistan cricket.

Interestingly, that match was also Dhoni’s last match as an international captain. While he had retired from Test matches in 2014 and then gave away ODI captaincy in 2017, he was at the helm of affairs for this one-off game against Afghanistan in the absence of then captain Virat Kohli and stand-in skipper Rohit Sharma.

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