Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bowling coach and former Indian cricketer Lakshmipathy Balaji said that MS Dhoni‘s appointment as India’s mentor for the ICC T20 World Cup 2021 will benefit head coach Ravi Shastri and skipper Virat Kohli in decision making.
On Wednesday, BCCI made a special announcement of including Dhoni as the mentor of the team for the showpiece event. The news was welcomed by the millions of fans and lovers of the legendary cricketer.
MS Dhoni brings in decision making in the present: Lakshmipathy Balaji
Balaji who himself has played under Dhoni in the Indian team and CSK feels that Dhoni will play a key role in decision making and he will also help the team to break the jinx of not winning an ICC trophy since 2013.
“We have not won any big tournaments in the recent past. So they needed someone who can bring in that extra bit of calmness, guidance and decision-making skills. I feel MS Dhoni’s appointment is very big for Team India. In a short tournament like the World Cup, the quick influence he brings to the dressing room will be vital,” Balaji told indiatoday.in.
“Leadership is nowadays multiple roles. It can’t be one man. So Dhoni’s presence and his identity itself is huge. There is always preparation when it comes to pre-match meetings and post-match assessments. But MS Dhoni brings in decision making in the present. That’s where he is far ahead of the rest,” he added.
Balaji cited the examples of Australian cricketers like Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh mentoring the Australian cricket team and the former Tamil Nadu player believes that Dhoni’s influence will help Kohli and Shastri in the team’s important decision.
“Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri will definitely benefit. MS Dhoni has had a huge influence in white-ball cricket. Be it captaincy, be it guidance for the youngsters. In big tournaments and big moments, you need someone like MS Dhoni to add a bit of composure,” Balaji said.
“We have seen it happen in Australian cricket. The likes of Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting have helped the team in Ashes in the past.
“Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri will be able to gain from Dhoni’s intuitive and on-field decision making. He has also helped transform the likes of Virat himself, Rohit Sharma and R Ashwin. MS will have a huge influence, especially when we have a squad filled with talent. This kind of squad needs to be justified by the leadership group,” he added.
When it comes to the World Cups, taking the right decisions at the right time makes a lot of difference: Laksmipathy Balaji
Under Dhoni, India won the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup in 2007 after they defeated arch-rivals Pakistan by 5 runs in a thriller encounter.
Dhoni was the captain himself leading the team in the previous edition of the T20 World Cup on home soil in 2016, where he took the team to semi-finals and eventually lost to defending champions West Indies at Wankhede Stadium.
“When it comes to the World Cups, taking the right decisions at the right time makes a lot of difference. You might have one bad day and the opportunity is gone. All these little things make a huge difference,” Balaji mentioned.
“That’s why you need someone who has gone through all that. You can’t win trophies without going through that. There must be some science and ability to do that, which India needs at the World Cup,” he added.
Dhoni holds the record of most matches as a captain in T20 Internationals as he stood as the team’s leader in 72 games, only England’s current captain Eoin Morgan (64) is near to him. India won 41 T20I matches under Dhoni’s steward leadership.