Dhoni’s sense of planning took Indian cricket to new highs: Venkatapathi Raju

“I must say Indian cricket benefited immensely with MS’s brand of cricket. His amazing composure was perhaps unmatched in recent times,” said the former India left-arm spinner.

“The way MS led a young Indian team to a historic win in the 2007 T20 (Twenty20) World Cup is acknowledged history. But not many might be aware that during that year itself, he insisted that for the ICC (50-over) World Cup to be held in India in 2011, the Indian team should comprise of mostly experienced players,” Raju said about Dhoni.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

M. S. Dhoni was not only one of the greatest cricketers and finishers the game has ever seen, but also someone who had a wonderful sense of planning to take Indian cricket to new highs, said former India left-arm spinner S. L. Venkatapathi Raju, who was a member of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) senior selection committee that made Dhoni the captain of the Indian team.

“The way MS led a young Indian team to a historic win in the 2007 T20 (Twenty20) World Cup is acknowledged history. But not many might be aware that during that year itself, he insisted that for the ICC (50-over) World Cup to be held in India in 2011, the Indian team should comprise of mostly experienced players,” Raju said in a chat with Sportstar on Sunday.

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“MS was very particular that all the players of the 2011 Indian squad should have played at least 75 to 100 ODIs (One-Day Internationals). He felt that Indian team needed that kind of exposure and experience to handle so many factors including playing at home in front of massive crowds,” Raju said. “And MS stood vindicated when he led the team to that epic triumph.”

“When I went for the T20 World Cup in South Africa in which MS led the team to victory, I could say the way he handled the players, it was so refreshing to see the way he made each and every player comfortable even without compromising in terms of commitment by any of them. He came up with so many innovative moves as captain which were largely responsible for the team winning the Cup,” the former Hyderabad captain said.

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“To his credit, MS led by example when it came to handling pressure. He always believed that it is pressure which should bring the best out of any cricketer and that’s why you could see so many gifted players who were soon capable of winning games on their own quite a few times. He was a truly inspirational leader,” Raju said.

“I must say Indian cricket benefited immensely with MS’s brand of cricket. His amazing composure was perhaps unmatched in recent times,” he said.

“And even when he was not leading the side, MS made his presence felt giving invaluable tips. His door was always open for any of his teammates to share thoughts on the game. His chemistry with the players – both seniors and juniors – is some kind of a history now,” he explained.

“Honestly, MS, despite his towering stature, had great respect for all the selectors and his behaviour was exemplary in putting his views in a very straightforward and humble manner,” Raju concluded.

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