Carry on MS Dhoni, never mind opinions of former cricketers, writes Balvinder Singh Sandhu
A few players-turned-pundits who feel the former India captain has reached the end of his career, are speaking as per media scripts provided to them
Earlier this year, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was invited to address Under-19 trainees at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore where he was preparing for India's tour to Sri Lanka in August. He spent two hours with the boys, taking questions from them and answering them with patience and calm. His thoughts and appropriate words streamlined their line of thinking. He explained the mental intricacies of this fine game in a very simple way which was understood by one and all. He brought about much clarity.
NCA coaches Bhaskar Pillai (left), Ajay Ratra, Nikhil Chopra, Narendra Hirwani, MS Dhoni, Karsan Ghavri and the author in Bangalore recently
Great learning experience
It was a great learning experience for my fellow coaches - Karsan Ghavri, Narendra Hirwani, Nikhil Chopra, Ajay Ratra and me. Dhoni is natural leader, having come up the ranks through sheer hard work. The experience gained gives him an in-depth understanding of what goes through young minds. The inputs that he shares with Virat Kohli during a game is unselfishly provided - an on-ground mentoring of a young, impulsive captain. Many a time, Dhoni has come up with a suggestion at a critical stage of the game that helps shifts the momentum back in his team's favour. Most of the time, the game is won and Dhoni humbly takes a backseat, happy for others to be credited for the win. Kohli understands this very well. He also knows that the presence of Dhoni will greatly help the young cricketers who can soak in vital information that he shares with them to become street smart and out-of-the-box thinkers.
Ravi Shastri, an experienced campaigner, intelligent and having seen many shades of cricket politics, has vehemently supported Dhoni. Like Kohli, the chief coach understands the value of Dhoni's presence - what he brings to the table in the dressing room - as well as on the field.
No one can fill MSD's shoes
I fail to understand why people love to pull down our great cricketers instead of showing them some respect and allowing them to decide how far they can run in the last phase of their careers. A great leader like Dhoni is aware what's the right time for his exit and will time it well just like he does with his strokes. At present, I can't see anyone who can replace him in the shorter form of the game. No one can fill his huge shoes and his wicketkeeping gloves. Carry on Dhoni, never mind the opinions of formers cricketers. They are wearing different hats now and will sometimes speak according to the script provided to them. At the end of the day, not all former players want to see you go; it's just a few of them.
To me, Dhoni is like Krishna, who guided Arjuna to win the Mahabharata. You must carry your legacy to the next generation. Like you often do with a bat in hand in a difficult situation, hang in there and ensure victory for your team.
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