Birmingham: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni seems to carry the hopes of millions of fans without the slightest signs of pressure. With a constant smile on his face, he behaves more like a teenager constantly playing games on his smart phone. Gulf News caught up with him while waiting for the lift after the 15 minutes pre-match press conference at the Edgbaston stadium. He had just answered numerous questions from journalists around the world and was back to his smart phone trying out some games.
When asked how he manages to carry a mobile into the press conference, given that players are supposed to hand over mobiles to the manager on arrival at the stadium, Dhoni replied: “I am using my mobile to play games and not for anything else.“ He seemed very proud of his gadget and like an excited kid was willing to pose for a picture with his phone.
For a man who believes living in the present, one could sense that he derives joy out of every moment of his life, rather than succumbing to the pressure of expectations from him and his team. As captain he has led India to heights like no other Indian captain, although it was Kapil Dev who first showed that India can be world champions when he lifted the 1983 World Cup.
An English scribe, seated next to me during the press conference, was quite curious to know how Dhoni’s mind worked. He asked me: “Can you tell me what this man is made of as a human being? He is so cool, calm and smiling and has the stamina beyond unimaginable levels. He can bat, keep wickets, inspire his youngsters and even bowl. Looks like he is a real life superman!”
The only sign of age is his beard that has been greying a lot, and he has let it grow during this tournament. At 31, he is the oldest in the team with Amit Mishra closely behind with 30. All the rest are in their twenties.
Standing next to him as he explained to me about his smartphone, one got the feeling that he hardly gives away his thoughts on what it would be like to win this tournament too. When asked how he manages to keep his head so clear before going into a big final, he simply said: “We’ve prepared exactly in the same way as we had done for the semifinal [against Sri Lanka] or when we played Pakistan. Nothing changes... preparations remain the same.”
It would have been ideal if he’d added that he too could remain the same... the calm and cool Dhoni.