April 5, 2020 marks the 15th anniversary of former India captain MS Dhoni scoring his first international century. After an ordinary start to his career in which he scored 22 runs in first four ODI innings, Dhoni announced himself with a match-winning century, blistering 148 against Pakistan in Visakhapatnam.

Former India international Ashish Nehra, who was part of that fixture, calls that innings as of great significance to the team. “Dhoni’s innings in Vizag is of great significance to Indian cricket as it made the team believe that we too could have a prolific wicketkeeper-batsman,” Nehra was quoted as saying by The Times of India.

“I distinctly remember that match in Visakhapatnam. It was the second ODI of that series. There is a viral video of me hurling abuses to MS after an edge off Shahid Afridi flew between him and Rahul Dravid at first slip and people think it’s from that same match. But that incident is from the fourth ODI in Ahmedabad. However, I must admit I am not proud of my behaviour,” Nehra added.

Nehra reckons that Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly are the two defining captains of modern cricket. “I don’t know much about the era of Mike Brearley, Imran Khan or Arjuna Ranatunga but whatever cricket I have seen over the last 22 years, Dhoni and Sourav Ganguly are the two defining captains in contemporary cricket. He knew how to get the work done and who could do it for him,” he said.

He also feels Dhoni and Rohit Sharma are the two best IPL captains as they are passionate about their jobs and the teams they represent. Rohit’s Mumbai Indians is the most successful team in the league’s history with four titles followed by Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings who have three IPL titles.

“There have been suggestions recently that he (Dhoni) is overly passionate when it comes to CSK. Yes, he is very passionate about CSK but that doesn’t mean he is any less passionate about playing for India. It’s a good thing that an IPL captain is so attached to his franchise. Dhoni and Rohit Sharma are the two best captains in IPL because they are passionate about their jobs,” Nehra, who took 257 international wickets across formats, said.

Questions hover over Dhoni’s future with him not having played competitive cricket for almost nine months now. With the IPL in danger of being called off due to coronavirus, the speculations are at an all time high with reports claiming Dhoni may soon announce his retirement.

But Nehra says Indian cricket will have to answer to important questions. “Has Dhoni been dropped after the World Cup? And Is KL Rahul your long-term option as a keeperbatsman? The day somebody could answer these two questions together, you’ll know the significance of MS Dhoni,” he said.