Meet Santosh Lal, Man Who Taught MS Dhoni The Signature Helicopter Shot

dhoni helicopter shot santosh lal

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is undoubtedly one of the most successful captains across all formats. He first came into limelight after a scintillating knock of 148 runs against Pakistan in 2005 at Visakhapatnam. Apart from his runs, what got more attention was his style and the way he picked up the ball to play the now so-famous “helicopter shot” during the match. 

It Was Santosh Lal Who Invented Helicopter Shot

But it was not Dhoni who invented this signature shot. It was someone else who taught him to play it. The biopic on the life of former Indian captain, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story shows how Mahi’s childhood friend Santosh Lal taught him the execution of this most difficult-looking shot. Sadly, Santosh died almost 6 years due to acute pancreatitis. 


In the movie, the reel Dhoni played by Sushant Singh Rajput asks his friend (Santosh) to teach him how to play the Thappad shot which now is being called a helicopter shot. Funnily, Santosh became ready to teach his friend such a wonderful shot in the exchange for some samosas. The two spent a lot of time together when they played for Jharkhand Ranji Team during the early part of Dhoni’s career.

Dhoni Did Whatever He Could To Save Santosh

Even though after becoming a big success Dhoni was taken away from the circle of his regular friends, but he always stayed in contact with Santosh. When Santosh was going through his last stages, Mahi tried to do whatever he could to save his friend but was not successful.

At the time Santosh was critical, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was away on a tour with Team India. But when he came to know about Santosh’s condition, he arranged for air ambulance so that his friend could get immediate help and would be transported from Ranchi to Delhi for better treatment. However, due to bad weather conditions, the helicopter was forced to land in Varanasi and Santosh could not be saved in time. 


dhoni helicopter shot santosh lal

MSD and Santosh were best childhood friends and used to play a lot of cricket in Jharkhand with the tennis ball and also traveled together across the state for playing cricket. One of the old friends of Santosh, Nishant Dayal said that Dhoni admired the batting style of Santosh.

He further added, “He and Dhoni would play tennis ball games endlessly. They both worked for Railways. Santosh was fearless as a batsman. Over the years, Dhoni may have patented the ‘helicopter shot’ but growing up, there was someone who was better at it. Dhoni always admired his batting style. And Santosh taught him to play the helicopter shot”.