‘Today it is very difficult for me to call him Mahi bhai’: Veteran India batter says his equation with Dhoni has changed


The great MS Dhoni is known by many nicknames – MS, Mahi, Captain Cool, the Finisher. But the one name that has been fondly used by his peers and juniors to address him is ‘Mahi bhai’. Whenever an up-and-coming youngster or players who have played with Dhoni, talk about him, the affectionately call him ‘Mahi bhai’. That’s his aura. That’s the respect Dhoni commands.

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However, there is one player, who says calling Dhoni ‘Mahi bhai’ is not easy for him. Robin Uthappa, who has been teammates with Dhoni since the last 18 years and is currently playing the IPL for Chennai Super Kings, has revealed that over the years, the relationship that the two have shared has changed and evolved over the years.

“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,” Uthappa told R Ashwin on his YouTube channel.

“I met 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.”

Uthappa made his India debut in the year 2006 during an ODI against West Indies. By then, Dhoni had already established himself as the designated wicketkeeper of the side and a brutal hitter with the bat. As the Indian team would tour different parts of the world, Uthappa and Dhoni would become close friends, an association that continues till date.

“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 three 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 Chawla all of us hung together. Our daily menu was Naan and, Daal Makhni. RP loves Jeera Aloo and Irfan loves butter chicken.”

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