Anirudh Thapa plays for Chennaiyin FC, an Indian Super League (ISL) team co-owned by cricketer and IPL star MS Dhoni.
Emerging Indian footballing player Anirudh Thapa is waiting with bated breath to watch MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings take on Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 opener on Saturday.
The former Indian cricket team captain and ICC World Cup winner has had a huge influence on 22-year-old Indian midfielder Anirudh Thapa, who plays in the Indian Super League (ISL) for Chennaiyin FC. The football team is co-owned by MS Dhoni.
India’s most successful cricket captain, MS Dhoni retired from international cricket last month after winning all three major ICC trophies - the 2007 T20 World Cup, 2011 ODI World Cup and the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy.
But more than MS Dhoni’s trophy cabinet, it was his humility that has impressed Anirudh Thapa.
"I remember that after one particular lunch everyone was leaving and some of the young players came up to him to speak to him and ask for his autograph,” Anirudh recalled during a live chat with the All India Football Federation.
“Other people were calling him but Dhoni insisted he will talk to us. Dhoni gave us his time and shared his experiences with us. That was the time I realised how humble he is. It is one of the biggest positives I have seen and learnt from him.
“It was amazing to gain that experience and it was truly a fanboy moment for me," Thapa added.
Apart from his cheeky wicket-keeping skills, MS Dhoni remains one of the finest finishers of the game in limited overs cricket. His ability to score quick runs in pressure situations define Dhoni’s amazing skills as a matchwinner.
It was this aggression of Captain Cool that has had a lasting impact on Anirudh Thapa.
"I have always enjoyed watching Dhoni play because of the style he has,” Thapa said.
“The aggression -- I really like that. It has influenced me in my game too, as football is a game where you need to be tough and aggressive.
“Watching him hit those powerful shots and big sixes -- it has had an effect on me and helped me into those 50-50 challenges fiercely and win them," the 2017-18 ISL winner added.