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Dhoni’s ‘aggression’ has had positive influence on my game, says Thapa

Sports Lounge Staff

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Anirudh Thapa

New Delhi: Indian footballer Anirudh Thapa has revealed that former Indian cricket team captain MS Dhoni’s aggression has had a very positive influence on his game.

“I have always enjoyed watching Dhoni play because of the style he has. 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,” the 22-year-old said during a live chat with AIFF TV.

“Watching him hit those powerful shots and big sixes — it has had an effect on me and helped me to into those 50-50 challenges fiercely and win them,” he added.

It was in August this year that Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket. However, Thapa said that he is looking forward to seeing the 39-year-old play in the upcoming edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting Saturday in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“When I heard the news of his retirement, I was obviously very sad because I’m a big fan of him. Hopefully, I can watch him play in the IPL this time,” Thapa quipped.

The midfielder has made 55 appearances for ISL side Chennaiyin FC and was part of their title-winning side in the fourth edition of the competition. He talked about how Dhoni, who is also the co-owner of the same team, would speak to the players and motivated them.

“Dhoni is a very humble man, besides being a great person who is always motivating us and sharing his experiences. At team lunches, he would come up and talk to us. He has seen so much in life and all of us are aware of his background. So what he told us made a big difference. It was amazing to gain that experience and it was truly a fanboy moment for me,” Thapa recalled.

He also shared how Dhoni’s humility wowed him and a group of young players at Chennaiyin.

“I remember that after one particular lunch everyone was leaving and some of the young players came up to him to spoke to him and asked for his autograph. Other people were calling him but he insisted that he will talk to us. He 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.”

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