Dubai: The coach in Mahendra Singh Dhoni wants kids not to try out his pet ‘helicopter shot’ very early in their careers.
Answering to a query from Gulf News as to whether he would teach his helicopter shot that has won many matches for India at the M.S. Dhoni Academy (MSDA), which was launched at Springdales School on Saturday, Dhoni said: “It is something that I learnt when I used to play tennis ball cricket on the streets of India. It is a difficult shot which I used to play in tennis ball cricket but I realised it is tough to implement it in a proper cricket game. The reason being, in tennis ball cricket when you hit from the toe of the bat, the ball travels a lot but in proper cricket it has to be executed with the middle part of the bat.
“So I had to work a lot and eventually I began to play the shot. For kids in an academy, it is a difficult shot to play and I don’t want them to get injured because there is a high chance of them hitting the ankle while attempting this shot. I don’t want anyone to complain that children are getting injured. So they should not attempt it now but once they grow up ... once they play under-16 and then they can give it a go.”
Asked what prompted India’s Captain Cool to start a full-fledged academy, and that too in Dubai, Dhoni explained at length how it all began. “Often I used to get a lot of questions as to whether I am looking to start an academy. I used to tell them that I don’t have enough time as I am playing all formats. In the last few years, the debate kept on happening. I felt I wanted to start an academy. My friend Mihir Diwakar and I were room partners for four years when I played under-19 and first class cricket. He opened a few academies and I trust him because he has played very good cricket and he was one of the fittest in our team.
“We had contacts with Parvez Khan (chairman of Pacific Sports Club) and Mahmood Merchant (Managing Director of PSC), both of whom have a lot of passion for the game and it helped. I knew if they open an academy, it will do well. They are businessmen but they have the love and passion for the game that is why I decided to have my first academy here.”
Dhoni flew out on Monday morning after a session with budding cricketers on Sunday. “Dhoni is delighted with the facilities and location. He told us that it is of international standard. Addressing the boys, the first thing he said was ‘put away your mobile phones and concentrate on the game,” Khan said.
Dhoni’s academy has plans to expand and reach out to more youngsters in the UAE. “We will expand to Ajman and the academy will be based at the Eden Gardens ground. We will be sending our BCCI and ICC qualified coaches to Ajman too,” he added.
Shaji-Ul-Mulk, secretary of the Ajman Cricket Council, said: “We welcome the Dhoni academy and we will provide all facilities. Ajman Council will back the academy.”
Khan, incidentally, is the owner of the Maratha Arabians team which has Wasim Akram as coach and Virender Sehwag as captain. “All the players of the Maratha Arabian teams will visit the Dhoni academy and be providing tips to youngsters,” Parvez said.