Brearley: Dhoni is remarkably cool, but...

Wonder what Mike Brearley would have written about Captain Cool Mahendra Singh Dhoni in his 1985 book The Art of Captaincy (some call it his treatise on captaincy). That's exactly what MiD DAY asked him on Monday evening before he delivered his lecture. "Honestly, I haven't watched much of Dhoni. But from what I have seen, I think he is a wonderful batsman and very good wicketkeeper. He has got good results and has done remarkably well under pressure."

Mike Brearley delivers his lecture in Mumbai yesterday. Pic/Rane Ashish

Goof-up at Lord's
However, Brearley was a touch disappointed with Dhoni's decision to bring himself on to bowl during the Lord's Test earlier this year. "I feel he missed something during the Lord's Test. England were six down for 100-odd runs in the second innings, and Ishant Sharma was getting most of the breakthroughs. Suddenly, he didn't bowl for an hour-and-half after that.

That was a mistake from Dhoni. It was your best and only chance to come into the match. In Test matches, you have to see what are your best opportunities," said Brearley, who won 31 out of 39 Tests. He lost only four - all four to old enemy Australia.

Brearley, a psychoanalyst with British Psychoanalyst Council, ensured England won all their Ashes series under his captaincy. But the lasting impression of his leadership was the famous win in the 1981 Headingley Test against Australia. Brearley's extraordinary galvanising of Ian Botham, who recovered from personal ridicule following his winless captaincy record and his dip in form, is regarded as one of the greatest feats of sporting psychology of all time.

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