Monday, 30th October 2017

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Pressure, even for Captain Cool

Former India captain feels players in India still hesitate to accept when they are mentally weak

By TT Bureau in Calcutta
  • Published 8.05.20, 6:25 AM
  • Updated 8.05.20, 6:25 AM
  • 2 mins read
Mahendra Singh Dhoni Telegraph picture

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has no qualms conceding that he is not immune to pressure and fear.

The former India captain, lending support to MFORE — an initiative offering mind conditioning programs to achieve peak performance in sports — feels players in the country still hesitate to accept that they have some weakness when it comes to mental aspect and that’s why a mental conditioning coach is essential for any team.

India captain Virat Kohli was also quoted as saying that “mental clarity was important in life”.

“In India, I feel there is still a big issue of accepting that there is some weakness when it comes to the mental aspects, but we generally term it as mental illness,” Dhoni was quoted as saying in a press release.

The release stated that Dhoni made these comments while speaking to coaches from various sports during an interaction, which was organised before the country went into a lockdown.

“Nobody really says that, when I go to bat, the first 5 to 10 deliveries my heart rate is elevated, I feel the pressure, I feel a bit scared because that’s how everybody feels — how to cope with that?” the World Cup-winning Captain Cool said.

“This is a small problem but a lot of times we hesitate to say it to a coach and that’s why the relationship between a player and coach is very important be it any sport,” said Dhoni.

Highlighting the importance of a mental conditioning coach, Dhoni said: “Mental conditioning coach should not be the one who comes for 15 days, because when you come for 15 days you are only sharing the experience.

“If the mental conditioning coach is constantly with the player, he can understand what are the areas which are affecting his sport,” Dhoni, who led Chennai Super Kings to three IPL titles, said.

Dhoni’s future has been a constant source of speculation since India’s exit from the 2019 World Cup semi-final. Ever since he took a sabbatical from cricket, the talk around his retirement has intensified.

It was confirmed that Dhoni would return to the field in the IPL captaining the Chennai Super Kings but those plans were shelved due to the coronavirus pandemic. The IPL has been postponed indefinitely and there’s no certainty when it will be held.

Now, his participation in the World T20 is also in doubt as Dhoni hasn’t played competitive cricket for a long time.

Rishabh Pant was projected as Dhoni’s successor but his consistent failures brought to the fore KL Rahul as a wicketkeeper-batsman. The Karnataka player achieved considerable success during the ODIs versus Australia at home and the limited overs series in New Zealand.

“Now that KL also has done extremely well in limited-overs that he played in New Zealand, it would’ve been nice had this IPL been held and we would’ve seen Mahi’s old glimpses back but now it’s a tricky situation,” former chief selector MSK Prasad said recently.

No wonder rumours and speculation about Dhoni’s future will continue to grow.