World Cup winning captain. Finisher. Captain Cool. There are many things that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is renowned for but arguably the most recognisable aspect of MS Dhoni’s batting is his “Helicopter Shot”. But the fact that MS Dhoni is not the inventor of the shot is not something that everyone knows.
In his biopic “MS Dhoni: The Untold Story”, it is revealed that the man behind the shot was Dhoni’s childhood friend Santosh Lal, who sadly passed away three years ago. While the shot might be synonymous with the Indian captain, it was something that he learnt from his friend, who called it the “Thappad Shot”, in exchange for some samosas.
Dhoni never lost his friendship with Santosh despite becoming a star in the Indian team. Santosh had gone on to play Ranji cricket later for Jharkhand state team. However, tragically, Santosh suffered pancreatitis and lost his life in July, 2013. At that time, Dhoni had arranged for Santosh to be flown in from Ranchi to Delhi to get proper treatment but Santosh didn’t make it.When Dhoni sent a helicopter
Santosh was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis and required urgent medical care. 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.
The pair were friends from a young age, played plenty of tennis ball cricket together and also travelled aross Jharkhand to play cricket. Nishant Dayal, a longtime 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.
Dayal said: “He and Dhoni were the best of friends since childhood. They 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,” adds Dayal.
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