New Delhi: A decade ago, Arun Pandey was just a small-time cricketer who played a couple of games with Mahendra Singh Dhoni. (JPN/Agencies)
But today, he is known as a friend, manager and business partner of the captain of the Indian cricket team. Pandey is also the owner of Rhiti sports which manages the brand endorsements for several sportsperson including MSD who is apparently the most valuable sportsperson in India.
This is one of the reasons; a lot of cricketers and officials call him ‘Agent Arun’.
Such is his reputation that a small-time left-arm spinner Pandey was spotted rolling his arm at Kotla nets with Team CSK in 2012. Pandey, who was not even a part of the support staff, was seen bowling for close to 45 minutes.
Pandey played a couple of matches with Dhoni in early days
Pandey came in touch with Dhoni when he played a couple of matches for Bihar in the early part of last decade. The friendship strengthened as Dhoni, who was then cutting his teeth in first-class cricket used to come to Delhi to play Hot-Weather tournaments and often stayed at Pandey's place.
Pandey also appeared in a TV commercial along with Dhoni
Once Dhoni became a megastar in Indian cricket, Pandey reaped the dividends in the reflected glory of the Indian captain. So much so, that he even appeared in a television commercial for a cement brand along with Dhoni and RP Singh.
When Pandey reportedly signed Dhoni for a whopping amount for his company Rhiti Sports, it instantly grabbed eyeballs as no one knew what Pandey's locus standi was in terms of managing players and their finances.
Pandey also cherishes close ties with RP Singh
RP Singh might have severed professional ties with Rhiti now, but those who covered the Ranji Trophy match between Uttar Pradesh and Railways at Mohan Meakin ground in Ghaziabad in 2011, saw Pandey come with a huge birthday cake at the end of the day's play.
The cake was cut at players' makeshift dining area and it was supposed to be exclusively for the players and officials. No one questioned about what an "outsider" was doing there as the match was still on.
Pandey's claim to fame in cricketing circles, courtesy Dhoni, has come fast but the skipper now faces some uncomfortable questions since the suspicions of conflict of interest has cropped up.
New Delhi: A decade ago, Arun Pandey was just a small-time cricketer who played a couple of games with Mahendra Singh Dhoni.