M.S. Dhoni: Leadership Masterclass from the Master of the Craft - Pearls of Wisdom

Rajat Narang & Bhumika Chandra

A collection of select post match presentation interviews with the undisputed legend of the game and others with focus on unravelling MSD's approach to team leadership, strategy maneuvers, tactical play and overall take on the game. Note: All content rights fully reserved with the BCCI and the original broadcasters. Check out our 2-part leadership book series on M.S. Dhoni on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09ZQ78SZ4 1. The Maverick's Code - Leadership Strategies, Principles & Lessons from MSD https://www.amazon.in/gp/product/B0B1V74QFX 2. MS Dhoni: The Legend's Playbook read less

ICC T20 WC 2022 - Why England Deserved to Win the World Cup?
13-11-2022
ICC T20 WC 2022 - Why England Deserved to Win the World Cup?
England's win  in the just concluded WC was duly well deserved for the following reasons: 1. England played and defeated all the 3 teams that made it to the final Top 4 of the tournament to win the cup England defeated New Zealand in a must win group game comprehensively before routing India in the Semi-Final. They then outclassed Pakistan bowlers in the final with their grit & determination led by Ben Stokes. England also took on and managed to defeat quality Sri Lankan wrist spinners on their favorite hunting ground at Sydney with the victory again scripted by Stokes. None of the other 3 teams had to face these many quality oppositions throughout their journey.  2. Unmatched Team Composition and Balance England have a fantastic team composition and balance full of specialist all-rounders who can bat & bowl really well with a strong batting line-up going almost till number 10 enabling the team to play real attacking cricket. In bowling, they have 2 swing bowlers in form of Woakes & Stokes along with Sam Curran, bowlers who can hit the deck hard like Mark Wood & Chris Jordan and 3 spinners, including, Adil Rashid, Moeen Ali and Livingstone who is more of a mystery spinner. No other team had such diversity, quality and variety in the bowling department to match all kind of conditions.  3. Superior Tactical Play Throughout English pace bowlers were consistently bowling hard lengths and just short of good length which was troubling the batsmen as the ball ws bouncing off the pitch and coming high. Also, with consistently good line there was no room for batsmen to play cuts or pulls. Spinners, both Rashid & Livingstone, were getting turn while consistently bowling in the right areas which created impact. Against India, English spinners gave just 41 runs in 7 overs while getting the prized wicket of SKY. Against Pakistan, Rashid got 21/2 in his 4 overs. English bowlers also bowled in very short spells of 1-2 overs each with very frequent & planned bowling changes while fully controlling the game which did not let any of the batsmen settle down and become comfortable throughout the game. Also, their batsmen were really attacking & aggressive from the outset especially in the powerplay which gave them a headstart in each match. Also, they were batting forward trying to play drives while the bowlers were trying to pitch the ball up in their efforts to get swing. They were consistently attacking in their approach fearlessly despite the total being chased. 4. India are batting heavy with weaker bowling while Pakistan are clearly bowling led with batting being their weakness while the balanced kiwis were outclassed in the semi-final by the slowness of the Sydney wicket against Pakistan bowlers on a day which was just not theirs, just like India were at Adelaide.   5. England have clearly segregated teams for every format with clearly defined roles and requirements with the bench strength to match them with attacking cricket being the buzzword of their game irrespective of the format being played.
ICC T20 WC 2022 - Why Team India was Bound to Lose the Semi-Final Bout from the Start?
13-11-2022
ICC T20 WC 2022 - Why Team India was Bound to Lose the Semi-Final Bout from the Start?
Team India was bound to lose the Semi-Final of the just concluded ICC T20 World Cup right from the outset. And the reason for that - team selection. Every team knew months before the tournament even started that both the semi-finals for scheduled to be held in Sydney & Adelaide respectively. Both the locations favor spin bowlers but wrist spinners. These were the grounds which made Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill and Nathan Lyon into legendary spin bowlers of their respective eras for Australian cricket. Keeping that in mind, Team India's decision to not include India's best wrist spinning duo of Kulcha, which has witnessed considerable success over the years, was baffling and the decision to not play Chahal, its only wrist spinner, in the playing XI for any of the matches was even more so. Playing with finger spinners at Adelaide was like fighting with swords against an enemy wielding guns and perched on an elevated position! Secondly, Team India chose Bhuvi and Arshdeep to spearhead its pace attack which was also surprising given that they both are kings of swing which works fantastically in English conditions. However,  in Australia, seam bowlers who hit the deck hard truly thrive by harnessing the pace and bounce offered by the pitches, especially, at Perth and MCG which Shami and Siraj were bound to do but Shami could not do at Adelaide. India's swing bowlers bowled well throughout the group stage matches especially at the above mentioned locations while clearly struggling at Adelaide against Bangladesh on a flattop. In the Semi-Final against England at Adelaide, there was no swing on offer on a flat wicket, Indian pacers, thus, seemed merely a shadow of themselves with England dominating the powerplay. Indian finger spinners too were listless as they couldn't get anything from the surface as expected while Adil Rashid weaved his magic and Chahal becoming a mere, helpless spectator sitting in the dugout.  Thus, the outcome of the Semi-Final was more or less along the expected lines because if you pick pacers for English conditions & spinners for the sub-continent conditions while going out to play the world cup in Australia  what you will get is a knockout in the ring rather than losing on points to the opponent let alone the thought of winning the bout! Serious questions to be answered by team management over team selection...
Why Team India Needs a New Crop of Bowlers for the T20 Format?
10-11-2022
Why Team India Needs a New Crop of Bowlers for the T20 Format?
1. Today: England win by 10 wickets against India while chasing 168 in 2022's T20 World Cup Semi-Final 2. T20 World Cup 2021: Pakistan won by 10 wickets against India while chasing 151 in a group match 3. ICC Test Championship Final in June 2021 with Indian bowling capitulating against the Kiwis on the last day  4. Even in the final of the Champions Trophy 2017, Indian bowlers conceded 338 runs while taking only 4 wickets while bowling first against arch-rivals Pakistan with Indian batters managing to score only 158 runs while chasing. Compare that with below: 1. India won the final of T20 World Cup 2007 under MS Dhoni while successfully defending only 157 runs 2. India won the 2013's Champions Trophy under MSD while defending only 129 runs against England while playing in England in a rain curtailed match reduced to just 20 overs for each side Clearly, it is not about the runs on the board being defended but about the self-belief in the bowlers & the team that the total can be defended. Indian bowlers have capitulated and buckled under pressure in knock-out and big matches on multiple occasions over the recent years. The bowlers clearly have looked to be on the defensive and clueless which has been a recurrent theme for Indian cricket while attacking bowlers ( esp. wrist spinners like Chahal & Kuldeep which India desperately needed in Australia) left on the tarmac. Seemingly, our bowling legends are interested in not risking their reputation (as it could impact their auction price tag for the next IPL) rather than going all guns blazing at the opposition. Also, Indian batting line-up had revised their approach to batting over the past year and a half but nothing was done in the bowling department which visibly has stuck to old defensive patterns. Seemingly, its time for Indian cricket to grow and harvest its next crop of bowlers (starting with the T20 format) developed from scratch with a fearless, winning and go-getter attitude along with strong self belief & attacking instincts who could give their all and prove themselves without bothering about the outcomes (The Dhoni Way). It's time to draft Umran Malik, Prasidh Krishna, Shabaz and others into the regular T20 side to play bilateral series' and learn & grow their stature with performances while the seniors can start focusing on the upcoming ODI World Cup 2023 in India for redemption.  That's the key to changing the outcomes or else we will keep getting the same results...
T20 WC 2022 - Chahal & Pant should be in the Playing XI as Key Guns in India's upcoming 'Battle of Adelaide'.
06-11-2022
T20 WC 2022 - Chahal & Pant should be in the Playing XI as Key Guns in India's upcoming 'Battle of Adelaide'.
Following the comprehensive victory against Zimbabwe at the MCG team India is all set for the English challenge at the Adelaide oval in the 2nd semi-final. Key elements that will decide the outcome of the battle will include: The Terrain:  With a flat pitch and shorter square boundaries, Adelaide has been a batters' paradise and a nightmare for fast bowlers with sixes frequently landing into the stands across the shorter square boundaries. Margin for errors, in terms of line & length, for pacers will be minimal and change of pace and cutters will definitely be critical. Middle Overs & Spin will hold the Key to Win: Chahal for Tactical Surprise? In the last few matches played at the Adelaide, it was spin which decided the outcome of the games on a slow pitch during overs 7-15. In the Aus vs Afghanistan match, Afghan spinners were effective and curtailed Aussies at 169 and almost chased it. In India's game against Bangladesh, the latter were cruising at 70/0 after 7 overs with Indian pacers looking flat & toothless with the ball coming nicely onto the bat without any trace of swing. Ultimately, it was rain interruption, pressure after target revision and poor batting by chasers & precise bowling n fielding which enabled India to reclaw the game. Indian spin bowling clearly lacks a wrist spinner, especially for games at Sydney & Adelaide, and given huge Aussie outfields with Axar Patel clearly visible as the weak link given his lack of turn & variations and change of pace. On the Adelaide pitch, Axar will almost be a sitting duck for the English batting artillery and will surely be on their radar as the bowler to be attacked over square boundaries. So far, the longest he has bowled is 3.2 overs against Zimbabwe at the MCG in which, too, he was targeted and conceded 40 runs while getting a single wicket. An attacking wrist spinner like Chahal would definitely be a much better option against the English as shown by the Sri Lankan wrist spinners who had almost trapped them in their spin web at Sydney the other day. Also, unleashing Chahal straightaway in the high pressure semi-final could be a key tactical surprise for the opponents given spin as their traditional & well-known weakness. The need for a leftie batter could be filled by Pant. Also, Chahal's inclusion truly completes Indian bowling line-up in terms of capabilities & varieties.  Attacking Southpaw Pant vs. England Bowlers and Two Gamechanger Unicorns: Pant's attacking cricket at number 5 would enable team India to effectively counter English bowlers, most importantly, Wood's pace at death, lower down the order especially  while spearheading the chase, unlike DK, who has been passive so far, so he must be there in the playing XI. Pant's inclusion also brings two gamechanger Unicorns to team India's line-up with SKY being the first one.  India's Traditional Affinity for Adelaide Powered by Kohli's Oval Love: This factor will again be favorable for team India given Kohli proving himself to be the core pivot of India's batting line-up in this world cup. Bottomline - Advantage India! The English looked very vulnerable against Sri Lankan spinners at Sydney in their last game and somehow managed to survive the scare almost by a whisker thanks to a small target while chasing. So, it will make for an interesting contest as both teams are batting dominated as well as equally matched in batting firepower so the outcome ultimately will be decided by bowling. Whichever team bowls & fields better, executes well and holds their nerves better than the other in the to be bitterly fought battle on the D-Day will turn out triumphant.  Still, given its Adelaide, the so far unstoppable Team India will definitely be the favourites!
India in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 - Analysis of Tactical Play So Far...
01-11-2022
India in the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 - Analysis of Tactical Play So Far...
Indian team so far had a roller coaster ride in the ongoing T20 world cup in Australia which got off to a rocking start with a victory over arch-rivals Pakistan powered by Virat Kohli's brilliance. However, India were also handed their first defeat of the tournament against South Africa at the Perth expressway which clearly favored SA's pace battery. At this juncture in the tournament an analysis of India's tactical play becomes imperative.  Inflexibility in Team Composition:  Across the all 3 games India have made just one change in Playing XI despite playing in starkly different conditions. The pitches at Melbourne and Perth favor pace & bounce while the game against Netherlands supported spin. Indian team, however, went into all 3 matches with 2 spinners and 3 pacers with Hardik being the 4th pacer cum allrounder. In games against Pakistan and South Africa, the second spinner proved to be floatsam on pace-friendly tracks with Axar bowling only one over against Pakistan and Hooda not being made to bowl at all against South Africa. India could have instead be flexible & played an additional seamer on pace friendly tracks instead of a second spinner which would have further beefed up India's pace attack and could play 2 spinners at Sydney & Adelaide. India could have utilized Siraj's decent pace & bounce which really helps him in Australia or Harshal if they wanted a bowling allrounder who can bat a bit. It would have really helped India while defending a meagre total against South Africa which went down to the wire with Ashwin finding it difficult to bowl at death giving away two sixes in the 18th over. The All-Rounder Fallacy:  The selection of all-rounders vs specialists has triggered another debate. The selection of Deepak Hooda in place of Axar is surely up for debate. Hooda does not have real batting experience in Australian conditions & second spinner was just not required at Perth even against SA's lefties. Instead, India could strengthened pace attack with Siraj whose pace & bounce could have helped them by covering Ashwin's overs at death. India could instead also have beefed up batting by including Pant who is  way better in technique & batting experience in Australia while also adding a left-hander who could have resiliently battled SA pacers & added some additional runs to the total. The inclusion of Hooda was completely pointless as he was out for a duck & did not bowl. If India wanted an all-rounder only then they should have picked Harshal. Experience matters in Aus! Left Handers in Line-Up: India's batting line-up has all right handers with only Axar playing at No. 7. This one dimensional line-up makes it very easy for bowlers to consistently manage line & length unlike left-right combinations. Thus, including Pant makes a lot of sense. DK vs. Pant Debate:  Pant has spearheaded & orchestrated multiple wins for India single-handedly in overseas conditions over the past half a decade while playing match winning knocks against Australia, South Africa & England. His experience of batting in overseas conditions & being a leftie become crucial for India. DK has great performances & experience in the sub-continent conditions but not in Australia. Also, DK is 1dimensional & can play last 2-3 overs and slog while batting first but while batting under pressure overseas when India has lost quick wickets it has so far seemed tough on him. Finger Spinners vs Wrist Spinners: The Australian conditions clearly favor wrist spinners and past has shown it with Kulcha having performed very well there. Chahal should be included & given the ball atleast as 2nd spinner while trusting India's strong batting line-up. Verdict & the Road Ahead: Great teams play the situation & the key is flexibility. All the best to Team India!
When the Going Gets 'Impossible' Kohli 'Guts' Going - Taking on Enemy Fire with Firepower
24-10-2022
When the Going Gets 'Impossible' Kohli 'Guts' Going - Taking on Enemy Fire with Firepower
Everyone who witnessed King Kohli's innings yesterday against Pakistan at the MCG was simply blown away by the Category 5 'Melbourne Storm' named Virat Kohli given the way he dominated the show and snatched an almost impossible victory for India ultimately from the jaws of defeat given that Team India were tottering at 45/4 after 10 overs. Kohli proved that he's got nerves of titanium while giving an invaluable demonstration to the cricketing world as to how to chase down the impossible in the direst of circumstances against a formidale pace attack while leading truly by example being the core pivot of the Indian line-up. He showed as to how to fight enemy fire with firepower while taking the attack to the opposition by unleashing a precise & no-holds barred counterattack to shake them to their very core. Rohit and KL's palpable jitteriness at the outset was no match for the enemy fire and only Super V had the intensity, tenacity & firepower to launch the artillery barrage which ultimately made the enemy troops scrambling towarda their foxholes. Kohli's incredible 100% success record of 18/18 unbeaten chases for India over the years has deservingly earned him the sobriquet of 'Chasemaster' and the King is officially back on the hunting trail with a roar.  Hats off!  When a player of Kohli's class plays an innings like that and leads the team across the victory line almost single-handedly it inspires every player to give their absolute 200% while going way above and beyond the call of duty. That's inspirational leadership! Take a bow! The inclusion of this special feature on Super V in this podcast themed on MSD just goes to show the amount of huge respect he earns everytime he goes out in the middle to chase another impossible... Enjoy listening to Virat Kohli's incredible run of emotions in the post match presentation interview in the audio. This one is simply to be treasured...
Leaders could be 'Born' or 'Made' but 'Great Leaders' are Mostly Born!
06-10-2022
Leaders could be 'Born' or 'Made' but 'Great Leaders' are Mostly Born!
The question with which the leadership theorists and experts have grappled forever is "Are leaders born or made?" Today we try and delve deeper into the perplexing quandry with MSD as the subject. Well, we all have seen as to what MSD has done on the field with his skills, capabilities and cool temperament over the past 2 decades with the three ICC trophies won by Team India under his leadership being the crowning achievement of his long & glorious career. However, let's take a look at what the stars had in store for the legend. For this, we use astrology purely as an explanatory and analytical technique (rather than a predictive technique) to decrypt what destiny had in store for MSD. First the disclaimer, we do not recommend banking on astrology for predictions or professional decisions or pursuits by anyone. Also, we are not professional astrologers nor do we have any association with anyone having anything to do with astrology professionally.  Coming to MSD, a cursory look at his birth chart indicates presence of Sun and Mercury in his workplace house with mercury exalted in an air sign along with Mars in the house of fortune. The combination itself along with his ascendant indicates a career in defense services as a senior military officer or prospects of a government job or an illustrious sports career. In hindsight and taking advantage of his public life with plethora of information in public domain, it can be easily seen that MSD started his career with a government job in railways followed by an illustrious sports career as the most successful cricket captain of Team India which deservingly got him the honorary position of Lt. Col. in the Indian Army eventually!  Thus, he was born to be a natural leader with great leadership qualities and he has effectively executed as to what he was meant to do in this lifetime.  Finally, it could also be safely concluded that, "Leaders can be born or made but great leaders are mostly born..."  In the audio, a clip from the ICC on M.S. Dhoni - The Leader.
"Be Honest with Yourself and in Your Life" - MSD
09-08-2022
"Be Honest with Yourself and in Your Life" - MSD
Two words which can quintessentially capture the essence of MSD's persona and his leadership are 'honesty' and 'humility' which have shaped, led and guided his personal as well as professional life forever and have enabled him to achieve what he has truly deserved - honour, respect & unflinching loyalty of his teammates as the extraordinary leader and, of course, the triple crown of cricket. How honesty helps someone is that it enables one to face and accept the harsh reality, including, setbacks, skill limitations, shortcomings etc. the way it is. And when one accepts the reality it starts the chain reaction of change, improvement and betterment.  As per the venerable Kübler-Ross model of change, a person goes through the following five stages when faced with an emotional setback or undesired change:- Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. If, being honest to ourselves, we straightway 'accept' the reality the way it is by somehow managing to bypass the emotional clouds and start from there, it really shortens the curve. That's what Dhoni, being his stoic self, does very effectively always which takes him really ahead of his current reality really quickly in the future-focused mode. Also, a person can really be honest and fair with others only if he is honest with himself with a strong moral compass and that's why it becomes indispensable to success in the leadership role... So, the proverbial wisdom, 'honesty is the best policy' indeed still holds...Q.E.D. by MSD!