Millennium Post

His mind wanders but MS keeps focus by humming

India skipper MS Dhoni’s mind wanders in several directions while he is batting but he manages to keep the focus by humming songs even when the bowler is running in from the other end.

This and several other nuggets about top Indian cricketers such as Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman find a mention in a new book, ‘Think Like a Champion’ (published by Harper Collins), written by Rudi Webster, a former West Indian team manager who worked with the Indian team as a psychologist in 2006-07.

According to the author, Dhoni wants to chip in for the Indian Army and set up a Sports Academy in his city Ranchi after retiring from international cricket. ‘When I am batting, I focus on the ball. Sometimes my mind wanders off to places where it is not supposed to be but as soon as I notice it bring it back to the ball. Singing helps me to stay focussed,’ Dhoni is quoted as saying in the book. When the bowler is running in to bowl, I start to sing but as soon as he gets to his delivery stride, I focus on the ball. Singing when the bowler is running in, empties my mind of unwanted thoughts.’

Dravid, on the other hand, offers a more serious view on how to stay focussed. ‘It is the ability to play one ball at a time and not go too far ahead of yourself and get caught up in the past. I guess that would be concentration for me.’ Laxman’s take on the issue is: ‘many different thoughts pass through my mind when I am batting but as soon as the bowler is about to deliver the ball, my concentration focuses sharply on the ball for that fraction of a second. That is concentration for me.’

Commenting on the sport in general, Dhoni feels to learn from mistakes is what makes a good player great. ‘...the difference between a great batsman and a good batsman is often the interval between mistakes. The good batsman will make a mistake and repeat it soon but the great batsman will eliminate it for the rest of the game.’

To a question on leadership and team work, Dhoni asserts he is not a ‘lone wolf. I am a team man...If you give me the toughest assignment possible and I have people with me, I would definitely give it my best shot.’
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