World Cup-winning India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh said MS Dhoni remained a ‘very shy’ person until the 2008 series in Australia that ‘brought everyone together’.

Harbhajan Singh said MS Dhoni didn’t talk much or hang out with the rest of his teammates on overseas tours. However, things changed after the controversial Sydney Test match in 2008 wherein Harbhajan was accused of using a racially abusive insult against Andrew Symonds.

Harbhajan, speaking to sports producer Rupha Ramani during an Instagram live session for Chennai Super Kings, said the controversial Test brought everyone in the team together and after that tour, MS Dhoni started opening up with the rest of his India teammates. The CSK off-spinner said it was a gang of 5, including himself Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra, that used to hang out together on overseas tours.

“We have played a lot of cricket together, we have toured a lot of countries together West Indies, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia. MS was a very shy guy. He never used to come to our rooms. He used to be on his own. We used to hang out with Sachin [Tendulkar], Zaheer [Khan], Ashish [Nehra] and Yuvi [Yuvraj Singh]. MS was a very quiet guy,” Harbhajan said.

“And then the 2008 series happened. The Test match (Sydney) got everyone together in the Indian team. Those moments made us believe ‘we are all together in this’. From that time onwards, he started opening up a bit and started sitting with us. Of course, he was a young guy.”

‘Dhoni was shy ever after he became captain’

However, Harbhajan Singh also said that MS Dhoni continues to be a ‘quiet person’ who believes in giving space to his teammates.

“But even after he became captain, he was quite shy. When he used to give suggestions, he came to us. He still remains the same. He will not tell you what field to set and what not to.

“Not just me, but everyone. A guy like Deepak Chahar, he gave everything the freedom he needed to explore himself. That’s something everyone should learn from him giving you the space you need to a bowler or a batsman is a very, very important,” Harbhajan said.

‘Felt strange wearing yellow jersey for the 1st time’

Meanwhile, Harbhajan Singh also recalled that it felt ‘strange’ when he first wore the CSK jersey in Indian Premier League 2018 after spending 10 years at Mumbai Indians, likening the rivalry between the champion sides to India-Pakistan cricket.

“First time, it was very strange. I was like ‘what is this? Is this a dream?’ Whenever we played against CSK, it was like India-Pakistan, it was a tough game. Then suddenly, I was not wearing blue and wearing yellow was difficult. It was very difficult to get used to.

Luckily, we played our first match against Mumbai. I was like, ‘it was good we got over this match early’. Throughout the first season, it was difficult. After that, we won the trophy. The second season was better,” Harbhajan said.