England vs India 2014 - MS Dhoni and the art of ODI success | gocricket.com
 

Dhoni and the art of ODI success

3 Sep 2014, 1315 hrs IST,  ,  gocricket.com  
Dhoni and the art of ODI success
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MS Dhoni is the only skipper to have won all three ICC trophies as skipper.
"I believe in the process more than the result. If you are properly prepared, physically and mentally, committed to the task and fully engaged in the moment, then I have no problem with the outcome" - MS Dhoni in an interview with Mark Nicholas on alloutcricket.com.

If management gurus had to redefine the definition of a successful leader in the modern era, this quote from MS Dhoni recently gives them the perfect blueprint. By winning the fourth ODI against England in Edgbaston, Dhoni secured his 91st win as Indian skipper in ODIs, going past Mohammed Azharuddin's mark of 90. This made him the most successful Indian captain ever in ODIs. There was a icing on the cake as well. This win sealed the series for India and gave them their first ODI bilateral series win in England after 24 years.

When one looks at Dhoni and his contributions in ODIs, he is the total package. He is the only skipper to have won all three ICC trophies. He is a finisher par excellence in the modern times and he has achieved whatever that has to be achieved in ODIs all over the world.

Dhoni's batting has dazzled the world but it is his leadership which is endearing. When opponents, cricket fans and analysts view Dhoni's captaincy on the field, they encounter a mixture of simplicity and calmness. Rahul Dravid, under whom Dhoni made his debut, recounted that his remarkable ability to soak pressure made him a standout.

The important attributes of a leader in any sphere of life are out of the box thinking, backing team members in any situation and keeping things simple on the field. In addition to handling the pressure crunch, Dhoni fits these factors of success perfectly.

Hark back to April 2, 2011. With India chasing 275 in a World Cup final against Sri Lanka and with two wickets down, the match seemed evenly poised. There was an out of the box moment when Dhoni promoted himself to No. 4. With his previous highest World Cup score been 34, the move confounded many. However, Dhoni changed the entire dynamics of the match. He started off slowly, steadied the ship as the innings wore on and gave a grandstand finish as his unbeaten 91 helped India clinch the World Cup after 28 years and give the legion of Indian fans a reason to smile. By this move, Dhoni showed the world that out-of-the-box thinking in leadership yields spectacular results.

Another attribute of his leadership was evident in the 2013 Champions Trophy in England. India were undefeated and they came into the final at Edgbaston with confidence sky-high. Rain reduced the match to a T20 shootout and India managed 129. England were cruising at 102/4 with three overs to spare. Ishant Sharma bowled the 18th over but was smashed for a six and conceded two wides. It seemed that the match was out of India's grasp.

But, Dhoni possessed the leadership instinct were he would back a player regardless of the situation. He backed Ishant and the bowler responded with two quick wickets as India clinched the match by five runs. It was Dhoni's instinct and the inability to buckle under pressure which gave India the trophy.

As a finisher, when the situation represents the highest threshold of pressure, Dhoni delivers his best. Be it the last over finishes in the CB series of 2008 and 2012, the final over of the tri-series in West Indies against Sri Lanka and several other heists, Dhoni stands tall when it comes to winning matches.

With these qualities under his mental framework, it should actually come as no surprise that Dhoni is the most successful Indian captain of all time in ODIs. His place among the pedestal of legends is assured in the ODI game. "I want to keep playing well and to win. I want the Indian people to be proud of us." If there was a quote which defines Dhoni's contributions for India in ODIs, this is it.

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