There are only a few handful of topics and subjects on which people across India (or shall I say across the world) are unanimous. MS Dhoni and his qualities, or lack of qualities, is one such topic. We in India are never bored of counting Dhoni’s good habits when the team is doing well and we are neither short on counting his bad habits when the team is not doing well.
For now, the media and the fans have shifted the focus from his show of favouritism in team selection to his cool as a cucumber attitude. And for now, I too am counting his good habits (apart from his equanimous demeanour) and trying to learn few lessons. Here are few lessons I can think of;
1) Do not be afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; Be afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion: That is what Alexander the Great said. That is what Imran Khan showed in WC of 1992 and that is what Dhoni is showing now. Indian team is definitely not an army of sheep but on their own they neither are the world beaters. And if we are hoping them to win the World Cup, the credit of arousing that hope should go to the captain.
2) Take the battle to a point where they are as worried as you: That is what Dhoni said when asked about how he keeps his calm in a pressure situation, especially while chasing the targets.
When the battle comes to that neck and neck point Dhoni is always ready for a man to man fight. That is perhaps the reason of India winning a majority of the close-fought ODI’s and T20s under his captaincy.
3) People will do what they are good at, and you should do what you are good at:
Fans, Critics, Media, Former Players, they all do their job and so does Dhoni. So many things had been written and had been said about Dhoni, but rarely had he responded to any accusation or praise. From being hailed as a champion captain who has won all the major championships in the ODI and the T20 cricket to being condemned as a staid captain in the Test cricket, Dhoni has seen his share of highs and lows. But the noticeable thing is his nonchalance towards any sought of comment.
4) In the moment of glory, allow others to lead: This is the best part about Dhoni. Look at the pictures of 2011 WC celebration and figure out how low profile Dhoni is when it comes to glorification.
I feel that only those leaders who have supreme confidence in their ability and have reached the realm of self-actualization in the Maslow’s hierarchy can be as generous to keep a low profile in the time of glory. (Read habits of self actualised individuals https://www.entheos.com/ideas/brian-johnson/773/the-19-characteristics-of-maslows-self-actualizer)
5) Showing Favouritism pays off sometime:
Dhoni has many times shown that Favouritism, if founded on a solid belief can be a winning strategy. The problem is that the belief takes some time to materialise into a performance, and very few leaders have the patience to live through that gestation period. Each of us ridiculed Ravindra Jadeja in his initial days and now he is indispensable to the team. Jadeja is just one of the many favouritism cases of Dhoni, the cases which mostly paid off. Do you remember how critics and the fans (including me) and the media all raised the question on the exclusion of Yuvraj Singh from the WC squad? Dhoni once again proved himself right, thus, throwing the debate of Yuvraj Singh in to oblivion.
6) Out of Grace and Grit, Grit is more important: If it comes down to choose one batsman who can win the match from a tight situation for your country, who will you choose? A Graceful batsman or the Gritty MS Dhoni. MS Dhoni certainly does not have the silken touch to his batting but he has loads of grit. And with his grit alone he has won so many matches for his teams and with certainty it can be said that in the shorter version of the game he is one of the most valuable batsman.
To conclude, there are few things which make Dhoni an average cricketer or a captain but there are far greater things which make him a legend. I reiterate what I have said in one of my previous blogs; that by the time Dhoni retires he will be next only to Sachin Tendulkar in the list of legends of Indian Cricket. And if he wins this WC for India, than I, an ardent Sachin Tendulkar fan, will rank him equal to Sachin. (https://enlightenedsid.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/indian-platter-gandi-baat-the-bullshit-talk/#more-158)