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The tragic story of a friend who taught Dhoni 'Helicopter Shot'

October 04, 2016 13:28 IST
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IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni with childhood friend Santosh Lal. Photograph: Twitter.

India's limited overs cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is known for his huge sixes and his innovative 'helicopter shot'.

The trademark stroke of Dhoni, the Helicopter Shot signifies Dhoni's brute power coupled with amazing wrist work and bat speed.

The shot helps MS counter yorkers, traditionally considered the safest deliveries during the death overs.

Several batsmen have started playing this stroke but the Helicopter Shot will always remind cricket lovers about Dhoni.

In the recently released biopic ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story’, it has been revealed that Dhoni is not the original inventor of this famous shot.

- How Dhoni was discovered: The untold story

It was Dhoni's childhood friend Santosh Lal, who is said to have helped Dhoni master the unusual shot.

Actor Sushant Singh Rajput, the reel Dhoni in the biopic, showed us how he asked his friend (Santosh) to teach him the ‘Thappad Shot’, as he used to call it, in exchange for some singhadas (samosas).

Santosh used to be Dhoni's cricket buddy and they both used to play lot of tennis ball cricket together. They used to travel together across the state for their cricket matches and the India ODI captain was very fond of Santosh's batting skills.

IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni is the best exponent of the Helicopter Shot. Photograph: BCCI.

The on-field success might have taken Dhoni away from his friend’s circle, but the Indian skipper made sure that he stayed in contact with his childhood friend.

Sadly, Santosh later succumbed to pancreatitis and died three years ago at the age of 32.

Although Dhoni was away on tour with the Indian team, when he was made aware of his friend’s condition, he arranged for an air ambulance to transport Santosh from Ranchi to Delhi in order to get better treatment.

Unfortunately, bad weather meant that the helicopter landed at Varanasi before reaching Delhi and when it eventually did, it was too late.

Nishant Dayal, a long-time friend of Santosh, told the Indian Express three years back that Dhoni and Santosh were “best of friends since childhood”, and that the Indian captain admired Santosh’s batting style.

"He and Dhoni would play tennis ball games endlessly. They both worked for Railways. Santosh was fearless as a batsman. Over the years, Dhoni may have patented the ‘helicopter shot’ but growing up, there was someone who was better at it. 

Dhoni always admired his batting style. And Santosh taught him to play the helicopter shot." Dayal said.

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