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MS Dhoni: Of the joy of handling pressure and living up to expectations

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MS Dhoni’s vast experience holds him in good stead on the eve of the T20 world cup final © AFP

The ICC World T20 2014 final against Sri Lanka is just another occasion for MS Dhoni to reaffirm the iceman status says Abhijit Banare.

“Over the years that I have been the captain I have seen almost everything. There is nothing really that I have not seen in cricket. Controversies are big part of Indian cricket and I have been through all it. There’s hardly any good or bad in Indian cricket that happens without my name”

The statement was regarding what goes wrong off the field for India but one can’t miss the nonchalance with which Dhoni faces adversities and enjoys the success without a fuss. As he takes on the Sri Lanka in yet another World Cup match, its task as usual for Dhoni. What everyone sees as a big final or pressure situation, for Dhoni it’s yet another opportunity to sharpen his skills and emerge victorious. There’s no surprise that these qualities automatically rub off on the entire team every time he leads the team. His team was busy playing barefoot football and enjoying themselves ahead of the final whereas on the other  hand Sri Lanka were sorting out their mind over dealing with the fear of losing in yet another final.

The captaincy experience

For a moment, let’s keep his impressive records in the 50-over format aside. Dhoni’s long experience in the shortest version of the game itself holds him in good stead to ease through any situation. He has captained Chennai Super Kings in 114 matches and won 68 of them. And add 26 from 48 matches won leading India. For those with even a little understanding of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will realise that a pressure situation and close matches becomes a habit for whoever has been there for long. It’s quite natural for Dhoni to act normal and execute his plans under any pressure circumstances.

Of all the skills and talent we speak of in the shortest format, cricket has been mostly won in the mind more often than not. How many times have we seen Dhoni outclass the opposition with his captaincy? Just like the ability to work out the permutations of a chase comes naturally for Virat Kohli; the shuffling of bowlers, giving inputs for the for the bowler from behind, identifying the field placements comes naturally to the iceman Dhoni. And the more he succeeds under pressure, the better he gets with every occasion in big match situations.

As mentioned here about the challenges of ODIs and T20 captaincy, Dhoni has developed a on-the-foot strategising ability in limited overs which very few have managed. And after giving a thought on the being the captain, Dhoni is equally efficient with his responsibilities with the bat and keeping.

On Sunday, the World Cup final against a familiar opposition would mean that Dhoni would have already won half the battle in his mind, and will hope that the rest in the team execute as per plan. He has already won numerous matches against Sri Lanka in a crunch situation and the World T20 final won’t bother him one bit.

(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)

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