The leadership qualities of Mahendra Singh Dhoni have become stuff of cricketing folklore and subject of many studies. What made him so successful as captain? What makes him stay so calm and cool in all types of situations? Why is he so good at finishing matches and rescuing his team from trouble?
Sfurti Sahare's book – Think and Win like Dhoni – looks to answer these questions and presents five key attributes of MSD's personality that, according to the author, can lead others to great success also.
For this book, Sahare conducted interviews with the man himself, Dhoni, as well as former India captain Sourav Ganguly to understand the true reasons why the boy from Ranchi has emerged as a legend of the game. But the book is not merely about Dhoni. It's about learning how to succeed from the legendary former India captain.
It is obviously written by a fan of Dhoni. So, there is a great deal of prose celebrating his greatness. The main part of the book consists of five chapters, each focussing of one of the five qualities of Dhoni that have paved his way to success. These are: The Right Attitude, Goals, Follow the Process, A Peaceful Walk Home and The Finish.
The first of these chapters talks about how Dhoni's background – being from a middle-class, small town family – has shaped his positive outlook. This first chapter exaggerates the brilliance's of Dhoni's attitude. Still, it does shed some light on the formative years of Dhoni and provides some interesting insights about his early years in the game.
There is one great anecdote of Dhoni and his friend avoiding a major traffic accident and the cricket star's instant reaction to it. This establishes the inimitable ability of MSD to remain calm in tense situations.
"The two of them (Dhoni and his friend) were having a blast when suddenly, from nowhere, a car appeared in front of them. The Land Rover screeched to a halt. It was a close shave...Dhoni, his usual composed self, said, 'When life is running so smoothly, why would you want to complicate things.'"
Such key episodes from Dhoni's early life, discovered through the author's interviews with his old friends, do reveal the exceptional personality of the wicketkeeper-batsman.
But it is the next three chapters where the book really gets going. They shine a very bright light on MSD's mind-set, thinking and character. They also reveal the personality of the World Cup-winning captain. Sahare also writes eloquently on what lessons can be drawn from Dhoni's example and how they can be incorporated in one's own life.
One of the best passages of the book reveals how MSD plans the chase of a big target and, probably, the reason for his team's great success in this aspect of the game.
Dhoni tells the author how he would plan a chase of 200 in a T20 game. "My first plan is to make a simple plan. 200 in 20 overs is a big total. So, I calculate balls to runs. On an average, I assumed that our team can hit 20 fours in an innings. It means 80 runs from 20 balls. 120 runs from 100 balls remained. That sounds more easy and achievable. I can see it. So, I can achieve it."
This quote from Dhoni is absolute gold. Through it, the secret to the 38-year old's brilliance as a chaser and finisher is revealed. Now, we know what makes him so steady in nerve-racking moments of a match.
The last chapter reads like a paean to the greatness of MSD and does overlook some of the big failures of him as a captain and player since 2011 World Cup. However, the book is not about studying Dhoni's tenure as skipper but instead, about learning the routes to success from him. On this count, the book does a fairly good job.
Whether you are a Dhoni fan or someone who just likes to peruse guides to success, this small book is a worthwhile read.
Title: Think and Win like Dhoni
Author: Sfurti Sahare
Publishers: Jaico Books
Price: Rs 199 (Variable depending on the outlet)