Uthappa said, “Today, it is very difficult for me to call him Mahi bhai. Since the time I’ve known him, he was Mahi, MS. I played with him after about 10-12 or 13 years. So I asked, what shall I say friend? Actually, I don’t know. Shall I call you mahi bhai? Because everyone around is calling you by this name. So he said, call me MS or Mahi or Jo your heart.’
Uthappa also recalled his first meeting with Dhoni in 2004. He said that cricketer-turned-coach Sridharan Sriram had introduced him to Dhoni.
Uthappa said, ‘I met Dhoni for the first time in 2004. I played my first Challengers Trophy then. It was in Mumbai. Sreedharan Sriram was there during the series and it was nice to be with him. Mr. Bhai was very close to Dhoni, he used to get along very well. I met MS through him and then we started hanging out together. But that meeting was a short one.
The right-handed batsman told that his true friendship with Dhoni happened during the West Indies tour. This was his first tour with the Indian team. He became friends with MS Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, RP Singh and Piyush Chawla on the same tour.
He said, ‘I went with the team on the West Indies tour. This was my first overseas tour with India. I made my debut. MS and I became great friends. I didn’t play many matches and sat on the bench most of the time. MS was playing but we spent a lot of time together and we became very close. MS, Irfan Pathan, RP Singh and Piyush Chawla, we all used to hang out together. Naan and dal were buttermilk in our daily diet. RP loved jeera aloo and Irfan liked butter chicken.