Dhoni – Shishya or The Guru?

Dhoni – Shishya or The Guru?
Abhimanyu – Arjuna’s son began his education while he was still in his mother’s womb. He overheard the secrets of how to enter and destroy the ‘Chakravyuh’. But he only heard about entering the ‘Chakravyuh’ and did not know the trick to exit this war formation. For a sixteen year old to lead an army against 1000’s of Kauravas and probably taking them by surprise, Abhimanyu did have the supreme qualities of bravery, leadership, patience and confidence in his decisions. Coming to 2013, when I try to think of a person who could be Abhimanyu of today, my thoughts create an image of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The Indian Captain possesses all the qualities aforementioned, but the thing that makes Dhoni different is his ability to harness those qualities time and again. And also with a difference of knowing the way out of every ‘Chakravyuh’.

MSD, apart from the famous ‘helicopter shot’ and the ‘Captain Cool’ tag carries with himself a flair, which was supposedly spotted by Sachin Tendulkar, who recommended him as the Captain for the 2007 T20 WC. In 2001 India v/s. Australia series was the turning point of Indian Cricket. But the victory at T20 WC in 2007 was the re-birth of a cricketing nation which was recovering from the disappointment of the 50 - over WC disaster held in the same year. Indian Cricket Board did take tough decisions post the WC failure and one of them was handing the chariot to a young MSD.

How many of us are good in taking decisions? And how many of us are good in taking decisions in crisis? And how many of us are brilliant in taking a decision when 2 billion people are looking up to you? Dhoni has always been numero uno in the list of the people taking brave decisions. Some called them senseless, some called them brave, some called them Luck or Midas Touch. But even the Luck favors someone who is brave and is ready to gamble. MSD will not only be remembered for Joginder Sharma heroics in the T20 WC final, but will also be remembered for selecting Yuvraj for 2011 WC, making a talented but struggling Rohit Sharma open the innings in Champions Trophy, making Ravindra Jadeja look a ‘game-changer’, letting Mohit Sharma be the strike bowler for CSK (IPL-6) and trusting Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma all the way along. We all know the turn-out of the events in each case. Before the mentioned people etched their names in history, their names did not even appear on the 17 player squad of India for years. What made these talented people different? Talent can open the first door, second door or even the third door to success, but it is the ability that opens the last door. MSD not only rested trust in these people, but in a way, made them realize their importance and got the best out of them. It is said that a team is only good as its leader and Dhoni has reaffirmed this every time during the course of his captaincy.

For past 6 years, MSD has played the role of a mentor, a guide and a team player. He has time and again showed the knack of pulling out the best from every player he had as his resource. No seniors playing in T20 WC, he made Uthappa and Sharma look like strength of the middle order. No Zaheer, he made RP Singh look like a strike bowler. No Sehwag and Gambhir, we very well know what Dhawan and Vijay did to Australia. It is difficult to cultivate talent, but more than that it is difficult to harness the talent at your hands. Team management, using the resources to gain 100% efficiency, grooming leaders for tomorrow and humble – qualities of an inspirational leader. We need Dhoni more than he needs us.

Almost all the time, the results are associated with the way you finish your work. Are you a great finisher? Study shows that people are motivated, enthusiastic and cool headed at the start. But as they approach the finish line of their work, they tend to get slow and do not perform with the same efficiency as at the start. It takes a lot to be a great finisher and Dhoni, undoubtedly is a prime example of a great finisher at work. Team in trouble- 30 odd runs required with one wicket to go- you need someone to seal the game- Dhoni opens the savior umbrella and leads from the front. A team would always love to have a leader who puts his hand up and says, let me wrap it up boys! Having all the ICC trophies under his belt, Dhoni has proved to be a worthy leader. It might take a little time to be on the list of the greatest captains of all time, since our world is ruled by statistics but a cricket fanatic will definitely understand the enjoyment and the fun of understanding his captaincy.

Let’s go to 2020 for a moment. I can see MSD being the guest of honor at one of the B-schools sharing his experiences on team management, using resources, taking ‘odd’ decisions and backing your decisions. Such moments come after enough experience and achievements. But still there is a question that stumbles me. Is MSD the greatest student of the game or the greatest teacher of the game? I say – greatest teacher. It is surprising to see someone keep a straight mid-off and a long off for Kieron Pollard and get him out next ball caught at straight mid-off or see the famous leg-slip for an off-spinner. Dhoni has it all; Just like his batting, his decisions are unconventional, but they make 1.2 billion people rejoice, cheer and sleep well.

Authors:
Tejas Chaudhari

Article Published: Sportskeeda: Dhoni – Shishya or The Guru?

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