Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been the talk of the town of late, with concerns mounting over his efficacy as a batsman in the Indian Twenty20 International set-up. While a lot of ex-players as well as Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri have come out in support of the former captain, others have suggested that India look beyond Dhoni when it came to the shortest format of the game.
Dhoni received a lot of flak after the second Twenty20 International against New Zealand in Rajkot recently. Chasing 197 for a win, Kohli kept India in the hunt but Dhoni struggled to get going , managing only a run a ball for a large part of his innings. He eventually finished with a 37-ball 49, but most of the big hits came after the damage had been done and the required rate had spiralled out of control.
The wicketkeeper-batsman, however, said that he wasn’t too affected by the harsh criticism arising from various quarters, insisting that people were entitled to their opinions.
“Everybody has views in life and it should be respected,” said the former Indian skipper during the launch of the MS Dhoni Cricket Academy in Dubai on Saturday (November 11). “I have always felt that sports is one way of learning about life. How you deal with disappointments, how you are supposed to come in front of people when you have either you have won or lost a game. At the same time, how you stand up to criticism, and how you have an open mind about learning and improving yourself.”
Dhoni, 36, has inarguably been one of India’s finest captains. Although he retired from Test cricket in late 2014, he is still actively involved in the shorter formats. With age not exactly on his side, Dhoni said it was the motivation to play for the country that drove him day in and day out.
“Representing the country is the best motivation for me,” said Dhoni. “We play cricket for only a span of time. We play for one year to 15 years, some play for 20 years. But in a lifespan, say you live for 70 years, 10-15 years is nothing.
“The only thing I can say is that I am representing my country. My biggest motivation is being part of the Indian cricket team. I have always believed that the process is more important than the result. I have never thought about the results. I have always believed in what is the right thing to do at that moment.
“I have always been involved in the process, and have never burdened myself with what if the result does not go my way. At the end of the day when the match gets over, if I look into the mirror and say to myself that I have tried my best, then I am satisfied.”
Apart from clearing the boundary at will in his prime, and an iceman-like attitude under pressure, Dhoni is also credited with the invention of the famous helicopter shot. He, however, said he would not be teaching the kids in his academy that shot just yet, as it was something which was very difficult to implement and he did not want them to injure themselves
“The helicopter shot is something that I learnt when I was playing tennis-ball cricket on the various roads and gullies back in India,” remarked Dhoni. “But I realised that it is very difficult to implement it in a proper cricket game.
“In tennis-ball cricket, even if you hit from the toe of the bat, the ball will travel. But, in a proper game, it is important the ball hits the middle of the bat. It is a very difficult shot to play, also I don’t want them (the kids) to get injured. There is a very good chance of you hitting your ankle when you are trying to play that shot.”