Mahendra Singh Dhoni is regarded as one of the best captains in the history of the sport and an example to many. The first T20 World Cup was held in 2007, the first ODI World Cup was held in 2011, the Champions Trophy was won two years later, and two Test Maces were won by the team under the former Indian wicketkeeper-batter. Since Dhoni has led his team to unprecedented success so far, it is not surprising that many cricketers, both domestically and internationally, look up to him as an inspiration.

Najibullah Zadran, a batsman for Afghanistan who is 29 years old and has so far played in 86 T20Is and 82 ODIs, is one such player. Zadran, who has been an essential member of the Afghanistan team in all formats, is presently competing in the International League T20 (ILT20), where he plays for the MI Emirates team.

Zadran said that Dhoni is his “hero” during a discussion about how the former India captain has inspired his playing career. He also detailed a conversation he had with the 41-year-old player during the 2015 World Cup.

“Dhoni is my hero, in my opinion. Nobody can complete an inning the way he used to. He taught me a lot. When we talked during the 2015 World Cup, Dhoni advised me to be composed and have confidence in my abilities despite the pressure. I still hold to and abide by that counsel, Zadran said in a chat with MI Emirates.

Afghanistan participated in the competition for the first time in its cricketing history in 2015. The team defeated Scotland throughout the competition, and with only one victory from six games, it placed fifth in its group.

While Dhoni led the team, India advanced to the semi-finals of the competition before falling to eventual winners and tournament hosts Australia. In addition, Dhoni’s last World Cup match for India took place in the 2019 tournament’s semifinals. Dhoni plays for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League after leaving the international stage.

ILT20 side facing Zadran, MI Emirates are third in the standings right now with 7 points after 6 games. Three of those games have been won by the Emirates, and a win on Sunday would move them ahead of the Desert Vipers and into second place in the standings.