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Dhoni made players feel they can be world-beaters



Tiger Pataudi showed his India teammates what self-respect is, Sourav Ganguly taught his troops to stand up to the best in the business and Mahendra Singh Dhoni provided them the spunk to be world-beaters.

There have also been captains who can be categorised as brilliant and even inspiring. They led the side by personal example, like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar, or even Mohammad Azharuddin. They all had their innings, never looking like leaders of champions.


Not that they lacked leadership qualities, they only left others in the team awestuck by raising their own bar, making it difficult for others to aim at. Dhoni inspired confidence in his players that they are free to go about their work diligently as he was there to back them.

In any team, egos come into play, more so when equals start performing and start thinking that they, too, should get an opportunity to lead the side. Indian cricket is replete with internecine wars affecting the morale of the players. It took close to 50 years for things to fall in place and evolve systems to ensure that the right men are there to lead the team.

Dhoni is one leader who said after his first major success — the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa — what he looked for in his teammates: He would like to see them stand in front of a moving truck! In other words, he wanted them to sacrifice everything for the team and the captain.

Certainly not all were willing to do that and there were times a couple of them challenged his authority, but he overcame them without the arguments getting ugly. Of course, like some of his predecessors he had the backing of the Indian cricket board, to be precise, its chief.

dhoni pngh-minIt was India coach Greg Chappell who noticed a great talent in Dhoni as wicketkeeper-batsman but also the potential to be a captain. Greg surprisingly, very early in his stint, thought that both Dhoni and another wicketkeeper, Dinesh Karthik, could be groomed to be captains.

If he were just a batsman, bowler or even a wicketkeeper, Dhoni would have prolonged his career, but he managed a far tougher assignment as a wicketkeeper-batsman captaining a side. He did all this without betraying his emotions on the field of play.

In a time span of six years he has achieved everything possible, starting with the 2007 Twenty20 title to the World Number One Test team in 2009 to the 2011 World Cup and finally the Champions Trophy in 2013. Incredible! And the only man who can aspire to reach such heights is Virat Kohli, brought up in the same school of thought in recognising the talent of his players and nursing it.

Whether he called upon Joginder Singh to bowl the do-or-die last over in the World Twenty20 final, that too against Pakistan with 13 needed, pushing himself to go ahead of in-form Yuvraj Singh in the 2011 World Cup final to play a match-winning unbeaten 91, or in that nerve-wracking Champions Trophy final against England in their backyard, reveal him as an unflappable leader.

Virat has aleady achieved the No.1 Test ranking and in six months he can have a shot at the Champions Trophy in the country where Dhoni won it, in England and Wales where in two years’ time he will be up against the world’s best One-Day sides to try and win the World Cup.



Virat, like a good leader, has built his Test squad with a strong bench and it’s time for him to carry forward Dhoni’s legacy in the other formats. That’s not going to be easy. Virat will have the benefit of his predecessor’s sound advice behind the stumps for some time and if everything goes well, even in the 2019 World Cup.

There are very few who can command the respect that Dhoni did. His deputy, Virat Kohli, paid the greatest tribute to his captain saying he will always remain a captain to him. If the captain and his deputy are not on the same wavelength, there will be fissures in the team.

Many addressed Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi as Nawab Saab and he straightaway told them to call him just Tiger. Another gentleman who has always been a captain to his players is Cottari Kanakaiya (CK) Nayudu, India’s first captain, even when intrigues made life of a cricketer difficult.

By Veturi Srivatsa (IANS)


Mohammed Shami’s wife Hasin Jahan meets Mamata Banerjee



Hasin Jahan

Kolkata, March 23: Beleaguered India pacer Mohammed Shami’s wife Hasin Jahan, who accused her husband of domestic violence and extra marital affairs, on Friday met West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on the issue.

Jahan who also lodged a case against Shami and his family members for physical and mental abuse, and attempt to murder earlier sought “emotional support” from the Chief Minister.

According to sources close to Jahan, Banerjee met her in the state assembly on Friday afternoon, where they talked for around 10 minutes. She assured Jahan that she would look into the issue.

The meeting comes a day after the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) recommended to the Board of Control for Cricket in India to include the Bengal pacer in the list of centrally-contracted players from which he was left out following Jahan’s accusations that Shami was involved in match-fixing.

Jahan alleged that he was spending time with a Pakistani woman in Dubai and taking money from her.

Shami was also probed by the anti-corruption officials of the BBCI for allegedly taking money from Pakistani contacts and was found not guilty.

A case was registered against Shami and four others on March 8 on his wife’s complaint.


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Shooter Vivaan shines at Junior World Cup



Vivaan kapoor
Vivaan Kapoor (right) on the podium after winning bronze medal in trap at junior shooting World Cup (ISSF) (PC- Hindustan Times)

Sydney, March 23: India’s Vivaan Kapoor bagged the bronze in the men’s Trap event at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) Junior World Cup here on Friday.

The 16-year-old shot 30 birds in the six-man final to come away with a podium finish after 40 shots of the 45-shot final.

Italy’s Matteo Marongiu won the individual gold in the event, getting the better of China’s Yiliu Ouyang in a shoot-off after both were tied at 39 hits a piece at the end of the final round.

Yiliu missed the second bird in the shoot-off.

Vivaan added a second medal later in the day, winning the team bronze in the event along with compatriots Lakshay Sheoran and Ali Aman Elahi.

Vivaan, Lakshay and Ali compiled a collective score of 328 to finish behind silver medalists Australia (331) and gold medalists China (335) in the team section.

In the individual event, Vivaan shot 113 in qualification to qualify as the fifth finalist after coming second best to the Chinese 4-3 in a shoot-off to determine minor places.

He then shot 26 out of the first 35 birds to edge out Chinese Taipei’s Kun-Pi Yang who also had the same number of hits but Vivaan had qualified in a higher position for the final, which ensured his first Junior World Cup medal.

India had another finalist on the day with Sam George Sajan Christopher Ramesh in the Junior Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Postiions, shooting 1140 in qualifying to eventually finish sixth in the final with a score of 402.5.

India have so far claimed two gold and three bronze medals in the competition and are placed second behind China, who have collected five gold, one silver and three bronze.


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IPL: Shami welcomed back to Daredevils squad



Mohammed Shami

New Delhi, March 23: Moments after the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) asked the BCCI to include beleaguered pacer Mohammed Shami in the central contracts, Delhi Daredevils CEO Hemant Dua on Thursday welcomed the seamer back into the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise.

“Happy to be informed that @MdShami11 has been cleared by #ACU of @BCCI and can play with @DelhiDaredevils in the #VivoIPL #DilDilli,” Dua wrote on Twitter.

Shami got a major reprieve from the BCCI anti-corruption unit in the allegations of match-fixing after which the CoA recommended he be included in Grade B of central contracts.

The Bengal pacer was excluded from the list of central contracts after his wife Hasin Jahan accused him of domestic violence and extra-marital affairs a day ahead of the announcement of the contracts.

mohammed shami

Shami was probed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s anti-corruption officials after allegations were made by his estranged wife that he had taken money from Pakistani contacts.

But at the end of the investigations by the head of the BCCI anti-corruption unit Neeraj Kumar, the paceman was found not guilty and thus the CoA has recommended that he should be placed in Grade B of the contract lists.

“Neeraj Kumar has submitted his confidential report to the CoA. Based on the conclusions in the said report, the CoA is of the view that no further actions/proceedings under the BCCI anti-corruption code are warranted in the matter,” a BCCI statement read.

“For this reason, the BCCI shall proceed with offering a Grade ‘B’ annual retainership contract to Mohd Shami,” the statement added.


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