Team India sprang a pleasant surprise by naming former India captain MS Dhoni as a mentor for the T20 World Cup, which will be played from October 17 to November 14. According to BCCI secretary Jay Shah, the decision was taken after consulting both Dhoni as well as the Indian team management. Dhoni announced his retirement from international cricket in August last year, having last turned out for India during the 2019 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand in Manchester. We list five reasons why Dhoni’s appointment as a mentor could turn out to be a masterstroke.
1. He has vast wealth of experience
Few India cricketers have as much experience as Dhoni has in the limited-overs formats. He played various roles for the team, starting as an explosive hitter of the cricket ball and ending as arguably the game’s finest finisher in white-ball cricket. Dhoni has faced numerous pressure-cooker situations as a player and captain during his illustrious career and has come out trumps on most occasions. He will have a lot of valuable experience to pass on to the upcoming generation.
2. He can have a calming influence on players
Despite being a superstar in every right, Dhoni is down to earth and very approachable. He has an aura about himself but no air at all. As such, players can easily approach him when they face various challenges during the course of the tournament. In the IPL as well, we have seen Dhoni spreading words of wisdom among the next generation, be it players from his own team or the opponents. His mere presence in the dressing room could have a calming influence on the players.
3. He can be a good helping hand to Kohli
Despite his wonderful record as a player, Indian captain Virat Kohli has struggled to perform in ICC knockout games. He felt the pressure in the 2015 and 2019 World Cup semi-finals as well as the 2017 Champions Trophy final. There was clearly a sense of panic in the mode of his dismissals. The last time Kohli impressed in a crunch ICC clash was during the 2016 T20 World Cup semis against West Indies, when he played a blazing innings. Having his former captain in the dressing room, under whom he flourished, could be a blessing in disguise for Kohli.
4. Shastri and Dhoni could form a good fire and ice combo
Everyone knows that head coach Ravi Shastri is a feisty character. He holds back nothing, whether in praise or in criticism. Shastri has had a positive influence on the team, under whom the players have been able to express themselves. As such, India do not really need a mentor. But Dhoni’s presence can serve as a cushion for the players and Shastri himself. The former India captain is totally opposite in nature to Shastri. He has a calm demeanour and a relaxed attitude but a champion mentality. As such, Shastri and Dhoni could form a good fire and ice combo.
5. Dhoni knows how to win a World Cup
This is one of the most obvious reasons why Dhoni has been picked as a mentor for the T20 World Cup. Among Indian captains, he is the most successful when it comes to winning ICC crowns. Both as a player and leader, he knows what needs to be done in situations when there is extreme pressure or the chips are down. As captain, Dhoni excelled in the 2007 T20 World Cup and the 2011 World Cup and also the 2013 Champions Trophy. Rohit Sharma is the only remaining link from the 2007 squad. Kohli was part of the squad that won the 2011 World Cup. But most of the others really don’t what it means to win a World Cup. As such, Dhoni is the perfect person to guide the Indian team as they strive for T20 World Cup glory.