Albus Dumbledore (right) always trusted people a lot and gave them second chances. So does MS Dhoni © IANS
Albus Dumbledore (right) always trusted people a lot and gave them second chances. So does MS Dhoni © IANS

MS Dhoni is a leader of unparalleled skill who makes mistakes from time to time. He is the best person for the job, but he has his share of detractors. In this and more, Nikhil Popat feels that Dhoni has more than a few similarities with the fictional character of the Harry Potter series, Albus Dumbledore.

At his peak, Albus Dumbledore was the greatest and most powerful wizard of his time. As fans of Harry Potter (‘Potterheads,’ we’re called) could tell you, his achievements kept reaching greater heights; his fight with Gellert Grindelwald, the discovery of the twelve uses of dragon’s blood, and his work on alchemy with Nicolas Flamel were only the beginning. He was the only one Lord Voldemort ever feared. Dumbledore ensured Voldemort did not go unopposed; he led the Order of the Phoenix from the front, suffered occasional losses, but ultimately was the last line of defence for the wizarding world.

One can relate Indian captain MS Dhoni a lot to Dumbledore. He is statistically one of the best — if not the very best — captains in India’s cricket history, given his achievements across formats. He remains to be the only captain to have won all ICC tournaments possible. He won the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013, before which he helped India win the 50-over World Cup in 2011, not to forget the famous T20 World Cup win in 2007. Then there is the small matter of him leading India to the No. 1 position in ICC rankings for Test teams. To add to it, he has led his Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, Chennai Super Kings (CSK), to two IPL titles and two Champions League T20 (CLT20) titles. As a captain, there is not a lot left to achieve. He is already considered to be a One-Day International (ODI) great. He has the achievements to match those of Dumbledore in their respective fields.

Dumbledore always led by example, and never shied away from acknowledging the times when he was wrong. Dhoni is quite similar; he is vocal of his own mistakes, and never shies away from taking the blame upon himself.

Dumbledore always trusted people a lot and gave them second chances; Severus Snape being a prime example of this. He gave Snape a chance at redemption; he trusted Hermione Granger to ensure she kept pegging Harry Potter to make the right decisions; he trusted Ronald Weasley to make the right call and return to his friends even after leaving their side. Dhoni has done that with many cricketers as well; he persisted with Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, and Murali Vijay even when they struggled and the world wanted to see no more of them. His trust and backing now sees them break records; Rohit has redeemed himself ever since he has started opening, Ishant won India a Test Lords (he credited MS Dhoni for it), and Vijay has transformed into a brilliant opener for India in Tests lately.

A feature of Dumbledore was he respected time and was very patient. He knew his cards well and always backed himself to make the right calls. Be it the timing and manner his death, or ensuring that Harry received help whenever he needed it, Dumbledore covered all his bases. Dhoni has been well known for being patient enough as well. He is happy to give people time and also make brave decisions.

Having Joginder Sharma bowl the final over of ICC World T20 2007 was something no captain would have thought of; promoting himself despite not being in any form in a World Cup final at home in 2011 was probably one of his finest decisions; giving the ball to Ishant Sharma in the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 final reaped rich rewards as Ishant snapped up the key wickets of Eoin Morgan and Ravi Bopara to help win the game for India. Not to forget the Lord’s Test win in 2014, and the number of times Dhoni has finished games in the final over all by himself. Leaders lead from the front, and both he and Dumbledore are fine leaders.

Another commonality is that Dumbledore always insisted on the fact that it was important to know ‘why’ a certain event was occurring and ‘what’ led to the event happening. He did not leave Harry a blueprint to find the horcruxes since he wanted him to understand how Voldemort thought, and then make the right decisions. This mirrors what Dhoni has often talked about — process being more important than the result. Dhoni has been very vocal about how and why he wanted his bowlers and the batsmen in his side to follow the right process to ensure best results. He has insisted that knowing what makes players behave differently at different times helps in overcoming past failures and ensures that errors are rarely repeated.

But every side has two coins; Harry found out things he never thought he would hear about Dumbledore. Dumbledore’s past, his family matters that were well-hidden, and his association with Grindelwald were all questionable. Harry had questions, but Dumbledore hadn’t left answers to them.

Likewise, there have been a few negatives about MS Dhoni too. His tactics in Test matches overseas have warranted answers but they have never come. Him not backing Ambati Rayudu in a close chase that India lost, and being involved with crooked individuals has put some bad spots on him. Every cricket fan wants answers, but like Dumbledore Dhoni has left no answers; not yet anyway.

Just like how Dumbledore was losing power when he was cursed by the Gaunt’s ring, one can see Dhoni struggling to get going even in an IPL game, tired and cursed by the workload of all his cricketing years. However, Dhoni and Dumbledore will forever remain leaders whose actions were carried out for the greater good.

(Nikhil Popat is a cricket lover and a PotterHead. He can be followed on Twitter @CricCrazyNIKS)