“I don’t see myself as unlucky to be playing in the Dhoni era. I started my career before him, and I had the opportunity to perform before him,” Patel candidly admitted while speaking on 100 Hours 100 Stars – a video campaign by Fever Network.
“Dhoni came into the team because I did not have a couple of good series and I was dropped. I know people can say it just to gain sympathies that I was born in the wrong era. But I don’t believe that,” he added.
Patel praised Dhoni for the great things he has achieved in international cricket. Dhoni has led India to glory in the 2007 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup as well as the 2017 Champions Trophy. “Whatever Dhoni has achieved was something very very special and he achieved because he made sure of the opportunities he received. I don’t feel unlucky at all,” Patel went on to state.
In the same interaction, the Patel also revealed an interesting incident of when former Australian opener Matthew Hayden threatened to punch him in the face. The incident occurred during the Gabba ODI in 2004.
"I was carrying drinks in Brisbane, it was the match in which Irfan Pathan got him out. He had already scored a hundred, and it was a crucial stage when Irfan got him out. And I was just passing him by and I did a ‘hoo hoo’ to him."
"He got so angry at me. He was standing at the Brisbane dressing room which is like a tunnel," Patel recalled. "He was standing there, and he said ‘if you do this again, I will punch your face’. I said ‘sorry’, I stood around and he went off," he added.
Later, Patel and Hayden opened together for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, and their equation changed. "Yeah, Hayden wanted to beat me up in Brisbane. But we became good friends after that. We played a lot of cricket together at CSK. We enjoyed each other’s company. Opening the batting was fun with him. We’ve had good times off the field as well. So we patched up after that Brisbane incident," Patel said.
"Even after the IPL finished, I went to Australia with an emerging side. Hayden called me home, prepared chicken biryani and dal for me," he added.
-By A Cricket Correspondent