Irrespective of what happens to the rest of his cricketing career, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will always be remembered for winning the 2011 World Cup with that magnificent six, at the Wankhede Stadium.
The way he just stood there watching the ball sail into the crowd and then nonchalantly swished the bat around in his left hand is an indelible memory and brings the goosebumps even now.
If any gesture truly signified ‘ cool,’ it was that. It was shot that won the World Cup and fulfilled the dreams and aspirations of a cricket mad nation after 28 years of wait. But the perpetrator of that moment was just so calm when all else around him was pure bedlam. Having met him a few days after that super moment, I told him that if I know that my time is up in this world then would love to see that shot and then leave with a smile my face.
Cricket being the great leveller has now brought about the turn of the wheel for the much adored skipper, who is the target of the ire of Indian supporters.
One of the many admirable qualities of the Indian skipper is his willingness to front up the media when the team is not doing well. We all know that he is hardly in the frame when the trophy is being passed on and it’s the fringe players and support staff, who are invariably in the front row the photographs which are splashed all round India and the world.
On the days when the team does well, he sends the player who has performed to meet the media. But when the team has been defeated, he is the one who goes to bear the fury of the media. He has said that he is prepared to be the punching bag if it means that the pressure on the rest of his team is diluted. It takes supreme courage and confidence to go a press conference when the team has lost and that too immediately after the match is over, when the media sit back and analyse what went wrong.
The questions will be sharp and extremely irreverent and more often than not bordering on perceptions, gossip and not real knowledge.
To be able to handle all that with a smile and patience is a truly wonderful quality, and what the media should understand is that by doing so he is helping them in their jobs.
Despite being pilloried in the media in recent times, Dhoni understands their stress and is willing to help. The four pillars of the game are players, administration, media and the fans. When they work well then the fifth pillar the sponsors come on board to strengthen the structure.
What the Indian skipper’s regular interaction with the media shows is his respect and understanding of their role in making this game popular.
Hopefully, the media will also appreciate that and while that should not mean that there should be no criticism of him, they should be able to distinguish him from one who appreciate their difficulties.
He is not among those who refuse to meet the media, and do their work through their public relations agencies.
They also have their own men in the media who will write what they want to be written about themselves and so get their views expressed. They know that the media needs them more than they need the media and while they have their own spokespersons, they don’t really have to meet anybody.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni may not stay too long as the skipper, going by the way the team is performing at the moment.
As always the clamour is for a change at the top rather than dropping the non performing players. If that happens then the media better pray that the next person, who takes over the charge, appreciates their difficulties as much as the current skipper does.
No one can rob Captain Cool of his achievementsBy Sunil Gavaskar | Mail Today – Sun 6 Jan, 2013 10:13 AM IST
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