Chennai Super Kings (CSK) player Robin Uthappa recently opened up on how strange it was for him to address his good friend MS Dhoni as ‘Mahi Bhai’, like the other players. Notably, both play for CSK in the IPL. While speaking on Ravichandran Ashwin’s YouTube channel, Uthappa shared that he had spoken about his dilemma with Dhoni and the former India captain asked him to call him by a name of his choice as well.
Uthappa said: “Today, it is very hard for me to call him Mahi Bhai. Because when I got to know him, he was Mahi, MS. I played with him after 10-12 or 13 years. So, I asked him, what should I call you, dude? Like, I don’t know. Should I call you Mahi bhai? Because everyone around me is calling you that. He was like, call me MS, or call me Mahi or call me however you want.”
He recalled that he first met with Dhoni during the Challenger Trophy in 2004 and it was cricketer-turned-coach Sridhar Sriram who introduced him to Dhoni.
“I met MS Dhoni for the first time in 2004. I played my first Challengers trophy at that time and it was in Bombay. Sridharan Sriram was also there during that series and I was very close to him. Sree bhai was also close to MS Dhoni and they also got along pretty well. I met MS through him and then we started hanging out together. But that meeting was very brief,” he added.
Uthappa also said that he bonded with MS Dhoni on a tour to West Indies, which was his first with Team India. He became friends with MS Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, RP Singh and Piyush Chawala during the series as well.
He said: “When I joined the Indian team, my first tour outside of India was to West Indies. I made my debut, then we went to Dubai where we played 3 matches against Pakistan and from there, we directly went to West Indies. MS and I became really good friends during the course of that series. I didn’t play many games and was sitting on the bench.”MS was playing, but we spent a lot of time together and we became really close. MS, Irfan Nathan, RP Singh, and Piyush Chawala all of us hung together. Our daily menu was Naan and, Daal Makhani. RP loves Jeera Aloo and Irfan loves butter chicken.”
However, the veteran is currently playing for the CSK squad and has been opening for the team as well. He also revealed that even before MS Dhoni became the Indian captain, players used to listen to him carefully when he spoke in the dressing room. He stated that there was something special about him as well. Notably, MS Dhoni is the most celebrated captain ever with three ICC trophies in his name. Along with this, he led CSK to four IPL trophies as well.
He explained: “There was something different about MS even before he became the captain. He was very different. In that era when MS played for India, all of them very special in a slightly shinner way. But he was special in a simple way. Always under the radar, quiet and simple. But had a great sense of humor. When he spoke, everyone listened and that was not when he was the captain at all. Even before he was the captain. He would only speak when he was spoken to.”