How do you describe somebody like MS Dhoni?
He captains a country that treats cricket like a religion. Apart from being their best-ever captain, he is also the best finisher in the sport and one of the highest-rated keepers of all time. He has won a World Cup by hitting a six, he has won another by trusting a hitherto unknown player. He captains, bats and keeps, in all 3 formats, for club and country. And when he's not playing for either, he plays for India Cements; and there too, he captains, bats and keeps wickets. Let's just say, this guy loves cricket. It doesn't end there; cricket likes him too. He has conquered the world in T20s and ODIs and, under him, India have ruled Test cricket for two years.
So what goes on in this man's head? How does he see cricket? How does he read the game so well? And how does that change the way he looks at love, and life in general. And how do you explain something like that in words? Well maybe his own words can.
These 23 quotes by Mahendra Singh Dhoni might give you a better insight about what goes on inside his head:
1. Captain Cool. That's the name we've given him because of the ease with which he seems to cope with pressure. Here's his take on handling the hopes of 1.2 billion people.
2. You always need to be focussed on the task at hand. Just a week before the 2015 World Cup started, Dhoni's firstborn kid, a daughter named Ziva, was born. He was asked if that was playing on his mind.
3. Dhoni doesn't give up midway. Halfway through a series, he was asked if India were beaten already.
4. A big reason for his success as captain is that he is able to understand each individual in the team.
5. And he understands that they won't all look at life the way he does. And he accepts that.
6. Not just "his boys", he is in sync with the woman in his life too. Having your personal life sorted is very crucial if you have to be in charge of the toughest job in world cricket.
7. And he doesn't make false promises either. He says it like it is.
8. Asked about India's tail failing yet again after a batting collapse, this is what he said.
9. He accepts defeats with a pinch of salt. After a series loss, he was asked if his team was tired and 'over-cooked'.
10. What's personal stays personal. And he makes sure it is.
11. In his own words: it's always been about serving the country.
12. MS Dhoni was asked which series whitewash hurt more, the 2011 tour of England or the one of Australia later that year. This is how he responded:
13. But remember, his victories outnumber the defeats. Having won the World Cup in T20s and ODIs and also having won the Champions Trophy final, he was asked what he was left with.
14. Half the battle is in your head.
15. Reads the game better than anyone else and yet, isn't afraid to admit what he doesn't understand.
16. On one of the rare occasions where he sat out due to injury.
17. If only understanding the sport was as easy for the rest of us. No wonder he's the most successful captain in Indian history.
18. He really doesn't have time for unnecessary details.
19. He knows what goes into building a winning unit. Here he stresses on the importance of a fielding coach.
20. His every decision is justified. And he stands by them.
21. From the most loved man in the country to the most hated, India's affection towards Dhoni turns like the tide. And it's something he understands: