Former Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera revealed a moment he shared with MS Dhoni playing for Rising Pune Supergiants in 2016. He called it a ‘special moment’ when he and Dhoni were at the crease, and Dhoni backed his abilities in a crunch situation.
Rising Pune Supergiant was part of the Indian T20 league in 2016 and 2017. Dhoni led the team in 2016 when Chennai Super Kings were banned for two years following the IPL spot-fixing scandal, which resulted in two new teams taking their spot in the 2016 and the 2017 seasons.
Parera told the story to News9, he said, “I remember a special incident with MS Dhoni for Rising Pune Supergiants, in 2016, and that is where I felt that Dhoni is like my brother. In one of the matches, we were 35-5, and I came down to bat. MS was the non-striker.
“He walked up to me and said, ‘Hi, TP. Let’s just bat’. I defended my first ball and he comes to me knocking the pitch – ‘Hey, TP. What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I am just watching the ball.’ The reply from him was very special, something which I didn’t expect with the sort of scorecard we were having at that time. ‘No, no. I picked you because you can hit the ball miles away. Go explode’.”
From there on, Perera played the attacking game and went on to score over 40 runs in 18 balls. This gave them the momentum, he said. And, MS Dhoni sticking around till the 20th over helped them reach over 170. Dhoni’s tactics worked after being 35-5, which makes him a special captain to play under, he said.
“He is one of the best captains, I have played under in my career,” addedd Perera.
Rising Pune Supergiants, however, did not do well in that season as they ended with a seventh-place in the points table, winning only five of their 14 games.