I am usually reluctant to write anything about MS Dhoni, partly because over the years, so much has already been written and spoken about him. I don’t think that there is any cricket fan across the globe who is not aware of MSD’s journey from rags to riches. His voyage from a small town in Eastern Part of the country to achieving a net worth of USD 111 million is indeed inspiring and worth praising. But for me what sets him above the rest is his attitude-the never dying spirit towards the game.
Art of Visualization
As it is rightly said that most battles are won not in the battle grounds but in the minds, MSD is a perfect example of the same. Suresh Raina, in a chat show, ‘Breakfast with Champions’ said that MS hardly speaks anything in the team meetings. However, every night, before the game, he visualizes and picturizes about various aspects of the game. It is there, where he envisions things like, the bounce in the pitch and positioning of the fielders. It is because of this art of visualization that has made people call DRS as ‘Dhoni Review System’ instead of ‘Decision Review System’.
You can do anything that you can picture yourself doing.
Humility towards fellow teammates
Have you seen the historic 2011 World Cup final? If not, then have a look at the images that are available online. Where do you find Dhoni in them? After hitting the winning six, he almost disappeared. Why? Maybe because he wanted to ensure that Sachin Tendulkar gets his fanfare moment. Leave the World Cup aside, under the captaincy of MSD, India has won all the major ICC tournaments, namely, ICC World T20 2007, ICC World Cup 2011, and ICC Champions Trophy 2013. Just look at the winning pictures of these tournaments, you would always find this man standing in the corner. He usually collects the trophy and hands it over to the youngest member of the squad and move to the side. He believes that cricket is a team sport that he being the captain is unduly exposed to all the credits. Thus, to acknowledge the efforts of his team mates, he just moves to side.
Be like the bamboo the higher you grow the deeper you bow.
Ability to take risks and stand by them
In Commonwealth Bank Series 2008, Dhoni made a critical decision of dropping three senior players from the team. He was warned by the selectors that in case India loses this series, he could also lose his captaincy. He knew that it was imperative to build a younger team that fields well, keeping in mind the upcoming World Cup in 2011, he stood by his decision. He followed, what we call, ‘Nishkaam Karma’ (ability to do work without worrying about the results) and results were in his favor too. But there is a bigger lesson to learn from this incident. What if India had lost to the mighty Australian side which had players like Ponting, Gilchrist, Lee and Clarke? He didn’t fear away from making bold decision irrespective of the consequences.
You can’t bring about the change in the system unless you are ready to take the risks. Winning or losing is an entirely different thing; don’t worry too much about them.
Determination and Self Belief
Do you remember the score of Dhoni prior to World Cup final? He scored 31, 34, 19, 12, 22, 7 and 25 in seven matches prior to final. These numbers clearly shows that he wasn’t performing well and was completely out of form. But these numbers weren’t enough to shatter his belief in himself. He promoted himself higher to in-form Yuvraj Singh as he believed he could play Muttiah Muralitharan better than him. What happened next? I need not tell you that. Does anyone of you remember about the poor runs that he scored in the previous matches? However, the memory of his winning six in Wankhede would still be fresh in your mind.
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.
Power of Being Ordinary
It hardly matters to Dhoni that he is a captain or not. He would still continue to give his team members his ideas and suggestions. He never lets his ego supersede him. This is why, when the team lost too many test matches in a row, he quietly left the captaincy. He knew his time was over and then didn’t asked for anything.
Everyone is special. Being ordinary is no easier.