Dhoni built a culture where a player was never intimidated by the captain, says Vinay Kumar

Vinay Kumar termed M.S. Dhoni as the dream captain, especially for youngsters taking their first steps in international cricket.

Vinay Kumar bowls during a nets session in Kanpur as M.S. Dhoni keeps a close watch.   -  S. SUBRAMANIUM

All-rounder Vinay Kumar termed M.S. Dhoni as the dream captain, especially for youngsters taking their first steps in international cricket.

Vinay recalled how Dhoni made him feel comfortable when he made his India debut, in a 2010 ICC World T20 match against Sri Lanka.

“Dhoni told me to bowl like it was another IPL game. He gave me the freedom to bowl the way I felt was right. If a captain gives freedom to youngsters, they will give the team their very best in return. Dhoni knew how to get the best out of newcomers. He built a culture where a player was never intimidated by the captain. His hotel room door was always open. He would hang out with newcomers for long hours,” Vinay told Sportstar, a day after Dhoni retired from international cricket.

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Vinay stated that he picked Dhoni’s brain on the nuances of captaincy. He put these inputs to good use in domestic cricket, leading Karnataka to historic back-to-back treble-winning seasons (2014 and 2015).

“I wanted to know how to get the best out of players. The big takeaway from my conversations with Dhoni was to back players to the fullest. When a player is not performing, it is easy to drop him. But if you know that the player has ability and is putting in effort, it is the duty of the captain to back him,” Vinay said.

Another aspect of Dhoni’s leadership which impressed Vinay was his clever man-management. “Dhoni fully understood each player’s capability. If Dhoni knows that a bowler is capable of executing a plan, he will force the bowler to execute it. If the bowler is not quite capable of executing a plan, then he will merely suggest the plan. There’s no point in forcing a person to do something outside his capabilities,” Vinay said.

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