The BCCI press conference to announce the Indian team for World T20I turned out to be a very interesting one when BCCI secretary Jay Shah announced MS Dhoni’s name as the mentor of the Indian team for the mega event.
The announcement has thrown up a lot of possibilities and has made the experts talking about it. At present, the backroom staff is well loaded with strategists in head coach Ravi Shastri and the batting, bowling and fielding coaches. Then of course there is the captain himself.
Former Indian opener and world cup winner Gautam Gambhir put forward some logical views on this appointment. He said that Dhoni ‘s role within the team will be well defined as the team has a head coach, a batting coach, a bowling coach & a fielding coach. Gambhir further explained that the team will be looking at what extra Dhoni has to offer apart from what the team already has.
Gambhir went on to say that Dhoni’s invaluable advice on how to handle pressure will be the vital factor in this appointment as India has missed out in the crunch stages of the ICC events ( Semis or finals). He concluded that Dhoni’s advice especially to the youngsters of the team in pressure situations will be invaluable.
Indeed from what Gambhir said, Dhoni’s advice in pressure situations and to the youngsters can actually lessen the burden on Kohli, who can be a little more focussed on his batting. In a way, Dhoni will be able to calm the dressing room atmosphere though he won’t be able to say much on taking reviews as that will be the job of the captain on the field who cannot take any help from the dugout at that instant moment.
Indian icon Gavaskar also hoped that Dhoni will have a lot of value in the dressing room with his calm demeanour and smart thinking but also cautioned that Dhoni, Shastri and Virat need to gel well together because if that doesn’t happen then there can be issues. Gavaskar has looked at it as a two-edged sword but hoped that all will work together for the same target without bringing in egos.
So, will there be pressure on Shastri while Dhoni is with the team? Only time will tell but as Gambhir said, their roles should be well defined because there is a chance that it can get overlapped as one of the head coach’s roles is also that of mentoring the team and keeping them calm under pressure which could well be Dhoni’s role now. So now the question will arise which other areas Shastri needs to see? We have to wait and watch.
Also, the question now on everyone’s mind is what after Shastri who is likely to finish his successful tenure after the world cup. Many fans are looking at the possibility of Dhoni taking over after the Indian team after Shastri. However, it may be recalled that Dhoni was a part of rigorous army training after the World cup 2019. His close affinity towards the army may come in the way of a long term India coach post. However, it is possible that Dhoni may take these important mentoring roles in big ICC events in future too extending till the event’s tenure instead of going for a long term post of the head coach which involves extensive travelling. Besides he is still playing in the IPL.
Thus whatever is the situation post the world cup, the Indian cricket fans and all the experts will be watching how Dhoni shapes up to this role and his future plans .