MS Dhoni is one of the greatest white-ball captain this beautiful game has ever seen. The former Indian captain is the only leader to spearhead his team to a win in each of the three ICC events- T20 World Cup 2007, 50-over World Cup 2011, and the 2013 Champions Trophy.
One of the many reasons behind Dhoni’s success as a leader was the calmness that he ensued even when his team was under the pump.
Harbhajan Singh, former Indian off-spinner and someone who has played a lot of cricket under the leadership of MS Dhoni- both for India and for Chennai Super Kings- in a recent interview with ESPN Cricinfo Cricket Monthly, revealed how the champion wicketkeeper-batsman gives full freedom to his bowlers.
“He is not a captain who says, do this, do that. He wants you to do what you know you can do. Bowl what you know you can. If you can bowl six offspinners, do that,” Harbhajan Singh said
He added: “Yes, he has nudged me at times – from behind the stumps or at change of overs – saying, this guy is trying to do this or will try this. But he never tells me what to do,”
Harbhajan Singh recalled an incident involving MS Dhoni and Shardul Thakur during a game in the IPL
Harbhajan went on to narrate an incident from one of the IPL fixtures where Shardul Thakur was being taken to the cleaners and he suggested Dhoni to ask the fast bowler to make a couple of changes.
“Once Shardul Thakur was bowling in Pune. He was getting hit every ball. First ball four, second ball six. I went to Dhoni and told him, “Why don’t you tell him [Thakur] to change the angle or push a fielder back?”,” Harbhajan recalled.
“As if he had all the time in the world, Dhoni said to me, “Bhajju pa, if I tell him anything now, he will get confused. Khaane do.” [Let him get hit.]He knew we could afford to get hit because we had already qualified for the playoffs.. He [Dhoni] said, “When he [Thakur] feels there is no option left, then I can tell him he could try doing this.” So Dhoni will not tell you until you realise you are short of ideas,” Harbhajan concluded.
Dhoni would have made his comeback to competitive cricket with the 13th edition of the IPL but for the coronavirus that proceeded to pave way for the postponement of the tournament for an indefinite period of time.