July 23rd, 2018 | Updated on March 22nd, 2023
Remember April 2, 2011? Sri Lankan Nuwan Kulasekara is hoisted for a World Cup winning six, ecstasy radiates from Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, spills over Marine Drive, and envelops an entire nation and the Indian diaspora.
Cut to the man, and all we get is the skipper letting the patriarch Sachin Tendulkar relish the limelight. Dhoni walks behind and you wouldn’t realise that he has just played a nerveless innings in a tense pursuit.
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For over a decade, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has captivated the world of cricket and over a billion Indians with his incredible ingenuity as captain, wicketkeeper and batsman.
Bharat Sundaresan, the writer of ‘The Dhoni Touch’ attempts to unlock the man who has a magical ability to transform and elevate everything which comes into his orbit-the Dhoni Touch. Funny, candid, and peppered with delicious anecdotes, The Dhoni Touch is an exercise in finding out what makes this man remain an iceberg while the fire rage around him. Scroll down to read some excerpts from the book!
With 10 runs to win, he called for a needless change of gloves in the Commonwealth Bank Series at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) when India were chasing down a facile total of 160 against Australia. He was sending a poignant message back to the pavilion. ‘Nobody will celebrate on the balcony once we win this match.’
In the same match, Dhoni was handing down instructions to Rohit on how the youngster should conduct himself while shaking hands with the Aussies once the match got over. He wanted it to be as tepid as possible.
‘When they give their hand, just firmly hold yours out without folding it like an obligation, but don’t overdo it. And just stare blankly at them without any hint of excitement.’
A few of the younger players in the team had told Dhoni that one of Australia’s premier batsmen had been pressurizing and sledging every one of them when they were batting. And that when one responded in kind, the player asked the youngster to show him some respect.
So, the next time he walked out to open the innings, Dhoni lined up all the juniors near the boundary line in a mock guard of honour. And all they kept saying to the burly Australian was, ‘respect, respect, respect’, as he walked towards the middle. ‘It was Mahi’s way of saying,
“I want to thank you. Yeh le lo respect”, says a former teammate.
Image Credit: Sirfnews
Take the 2013 IPL final. Chennai Super Kings had been in the trenches. The spot-fixing saga was at its peak and throwing up names and scandals on a daily basis. Their team principal, who was later described as a ‘cricket enthusiast’, was out on bail. The team was under the pump. The players had been in a lockdown at the hotel.
As the CSK players prepared for the customary huddle near the boundary ropes, Dhoni sensed the tension around him. Vexed faces, local and foreign, all waiting for their captain to speak magic words of inspiration and motivation.
Dhoni stuck to his straight-faced approach. He said, ‘Boys, we are second on the IPL Fair Play Award rankings.
Image Credit: DNAIndia
I want us to do everything we can to finish on top of that list. Good luck.’ And he was off. Later, he told a teammate that it was his way of breaking the tension.
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