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News

Pathirana: Dhoni 'playing my father's role' in cricket

"He always takes care of me, and gives me some advice on what I have to do - similar to my father when I'm in my home"

PTI
04-May-2024
Matheesha Pathirana celebrates with MS Dhoni, Chennai Super Kings vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2024, Chennai, April 28, 2024

Matheesha Pathirana on MS Dhoni: "He's just telling me small things, but it makes a lot of difference"  •  AFP/Getty Images

Sri Lanka and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana has called MS Dhoni a father figure in his cricketing career, saying the former CSK captain's small advises have given him a lot of confidence. The 21-year-old fast bowler made his IPL debut in 2022, and has since become a vital cog in CSK's pace attack, including their title success last season.
"After my father, in my cricket life, mostly he (Dhoni) is playing my father's role. He always takes care of me, and gives me some advice on what I have to do - similar to my father when I'm in my home," Pathirana said on CSK's Lions up close show on YouTube.
"I think that's enough. He's not telling a lot of things when I'm on the field and off the field. He's just telling me small things, but it makes a lot of difference, and it makes a lot of confidence for me. At the moment, he knows how to maintain the players. Off the field, we don't talk much. If I have to ask something from him, definitely, I'd go to him and ask him."
Pathirana has had a great IPL 2024 season so far, being the team's second-highest wicket-taker after Mustafizur Rahman (14), grabbing 13 wickets in six matches at an economy rate of 7.68, including a four-wicket haul.
As for Dhoni, he has been smashing sixes in the death overs this season for a strike rate of 229.16. Rumours continue to swirl around whether this well be Dhoni's final season in the IPL, but he is yet to make a formal announcement. But inspired by him so much, Pathirana has emotionally requested Dhoni to continue at least for one more season.
"Mahi bhai, if you can play one more season, please play with us - if I'm here (chuckles)," he said.
CSK have had an unstable season this term under new captain Ruturaj Gaikwad. In ten matches, CSK have lost five and have won as many games, and are placed fifth on the points table.