South African fast bowler Anrich Nortje recounted his first impressions when he went into the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) nets to bowl to former Indian skipper MS Dhoni. Nortje claimed that he was 16 at the time and that Dhoni “did not appear like a batsman.” During the 2010 Champions League T20 in South Africa, the two met.
“I remember bowling to MS in the nets there; he didn’t seem to want to be there, and he didn’t appear to be able to bat, to be honest. But I had no idea it was him. He was hitting a few balls nearly standing still, without utilizing his feet as he usually does (chuckles). I believe everyone was attempting to block everything. I suppose they were simply trying to get his eye in at the start,” the 27-year-old explained.
Dhoni, known for his unconventional style of play, frequently stays on the back foot while hitting his strokes with his bottom hand to great success. CSK went on to win the 2010 Champions League T20, defeating South Africa’s Warriors by eight wickets in the final.
Nortje is still one of the world’s quickest bowlers a decade later. He also owns the record for the fastest ball delivered in Indian Premier League (IPL) history, clocking in at 156.22 in the 2020 season.