WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THIS MAN – A THOUGHT OVER IT <3 <3 <3
With the release of the film “M. S. Dhoni – The Untold Story” it was again Dhoni all the way. Be it on the field or in the film, Dhoni is used to making history time and again.
Since the day M. S. Dhoni won that first World T20 in 2007 and ushered in a new era in Indian cricket, MS Dhoni has been given a street name of “lucky captain”. Take a trip around India and you’ll find the Indian captain’s name intertwined with myth, lore, love and luck among the cricket faithfuls. In fact, according to them, Dhoni is India’s own Midas. Everything he touched turned to gold. He has been appreciated, admired, worshipped and often criticised in his innings as the captain of the Indian cricket team. He has assimilated trophies of all kinds, won the World Cup, chased down improbable targets, snatched victories while walking a tightrope, balancing eight earthen pots on his head, juggling five Kookaburra balls, and charming a snake simultaneously. Lucky.
For lack of a better word, people call Dhoni LUCKY. So he is, by definition, a force that causes good or bad things to happen. Good for India, bad for opponents. Good for India, bad for Bangladesh.
Now, when we have reached the crossing, let’s get a few blatant but true statements out of the way before we cross it. To cite an example we would talk about the famous last ball win against Bangladesh.
There has never been, nor will there ever be, another Mahendra Singh Dhoni in cricket.
On that night, Dhoni continued with Pandya, whose first two overs were very costly and almost ruined the carefully laid plans.
Bangladesh stayed true to the script, didn’t panic and for all purposes, were over the finishing line when they needed just two off the last three ball. India should have lost the game, they had no business winning it. Pandya was all around the park under pressure and Dhoni was staring at pointed questions at the post-match media conference and scathing articles over his captaincy.
But instead, the legend of Dhoni added another chapter to it on that Wednesday night. Another bit of myth attached to the man.
So, what happened? For lack of a better phrase, luck kicked in. Dhoni kicked in. More appropriate would be to say Dhoni’s Attitude came in to play. Never say lose. Always go for the win!
Though, Dhoni didn’t have a particularly good time with the bat. But behind the stumps, Dhoni was an avatar.
It was not Dhoni the captain who won India the game, it was Dhoni the wicket-keeper, Dhoni the phenomenon, Dhoni the difference, Dhoni the marvel, Dhoni the force, Dhoni the attitude.
The Indian captain’s stumpings to send Tamim Iqbal and Sabbir Rahman back to their dressing room were top-of-the-line stuff. Him, running-out Mustafizur Rahman (he literally outran him) on that last delivery was even better.
Dhoni, in anticipation that he may need to effect a run-out, already had his right glove out as Pandya ran in to bowl that last ball. The youngster was smiling nervously and it didn’t seem as if he had a very clear idea of what he was about to do.
Dhoni on the opposite end of the pitch was cool. He has one of the smartest cricketing brains. He plays it like a game of chess, always thinking a few steps ahead. Even his spontaneous actions and decisions look premeditated. And doing all that with a poker face beats everything makes him the captain cool.
The photo that shows him standing like a cool cucumber as the team frantically celebrates around him after the win tells the story. His ability to maintain his wit under duress makes you believe he would be good at anything he did. And no one would still have any clue as to how he manages to do so.
There is an elemental thing about Dhoni. Something very immeasurable, undefinable, something beyond the limits of discussion and debate. His “X-factor”, another term that is just thrown in to veil our inability to explain certain things, is still beyond our grasp.
It came down to a sprint and Dhoni ran fastest to help India finish an inch ahead of Bangladesh.
How does he do it? What’s the secret? How can he be so cool, so calm when everyone else is imploding? It’s like he consciously keeps a billion hearts in a billion mouths by stretching the game to the final ball, and then does something so utterly awesome, so utterly Dhonily. No one can do that. There is no one quite like him.
And the aura, the mystery around him is self-explanatory. Dhoni doesn’t let much on. He talks mostly in riddles. He is the sort of guy you engage in a conversation and then come out knowing less about him than he does about you. There are hardly any good interviews of him. There are hardly any interviews of him at all.
Talent without attitude is useless. Beyond a point it is attitude which counts far far more than talent. Because talent breathes an ego and talent never solves problems beyond a point. This is what makes Dhoni different from many others.
Before we end this blog, would just like to analyse the fanatical last over from the match taken as an example, which in itself was a neat set of life’s lessons ‘The Dhoni Way’. Here it is how?
1) Pandya goes for 2 fours in first 3 balls. At this point game is over for India. But Dhoni still keeps his head on his shoulders, his attitude kept him cool and ready for the victory when it was very much obvious at that point that India cannot win this match.
Life’s Lesson 1- It is never lost until you lose it. Even when defeat is staring at your face. Keep your attitude in a positive mode.
2) Mushfiqur hits second four in last over and punches the air. Then, just 2 runs needed in 3 balls. So they have won he thinks. The Bangladesh dugout stands clapping. All were Wrong assumptions. As we noticed and experienced at that moment too, Dhoni was calm.
Life’s Lesson 2- Never count your chickens until they are hatched. Meaning – Really hatched.
3) Two runs needed off the last ball. A billion people watching are trembling with nerves. Dhoni remains cool showing no emotion. In the melee of last ball when billion minds have raced to confusion, Dhoni has sense to not throw the ball and run the batsman out. Then, even before the decision came, he knew he has won, yet he doesn’t jump into air or punch his fist. And even after the win he maintained his composure.
Life’s Lesson 3- Equanimity and dispassion is key to master one’s mind. No excessive joy in good time and no excessive sorrow in unfavourable times is how one should live.
4) One freak hit and Bangladesh could have won. One run off the last ball and it could have been a tie. Anything was possible like a random chance at toss of dice.
Life’s Lesson 4- There is an overall seeming randomness in life. In end you lose some and you win some by an unknown roll of dice.
How many times we all see it on television as our jaws fall to the floor, the truth is we really will not be able to gauge how Dhoni does it. Until we know better, let’s just call it LUCK. Let us call him the confidence that moves the entire team. As it is said “A Leader leads by example….”.
TO ACHIEVE EXCELLENCE, ONE HAS TO GO BEYOND TALENT, IT IS THE PASSION, WORK ETHICS AND ATTITUDE WHICH COUNTS… <3 <3 <3
VIRAL S. DESAI