MS Dhoni's biopic moved the former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman. The journey of Dhoni, which has ups and downs, was shown in the movie and it astonished Laxman. He wasn't aware of the hurdles Dhoni had to overcome to reach where he is now.
Talking about the movie, Laxman lauded Dhoni in the India Today conclave. "MS Dhoni is a classic example. When I saw his movie, I was taken aback. I didn't know the trouble he went through. What is so great about MS is that he never ever give excuses for not getting opportunities. What you can do when you're not getting enough opportunities keeps you going," he said.
"The example from the likes of MS Dhoni, RP Singh, and MSK Prasad is something I always take inspiration. MSK Prasad is from Guntur, there were no practice facilities in Guntur during his initial years. He used to come to Hyderabad in summer, he stayed in a small room, where there was no AC. The fan used to hardly work there. He used to do extra practice then take a bus to Vidyanagar where he stayed, have lunch and come back to do keeping sessions. But the guy went on to play for India. He was one of the top wicketkeepers to fast bowlers.
"It's not about where you come from, it's about what you think. Irrespective of the city, the quality of a champion is the same."
"When I saw Dangal, I was in tears because it reminded me of my own struggles. My friends, relatives criticised my parents by asking how can you allow your son to play cricket. All that were challenges. At the end of the day, it all boils down to the character of the particular champion."
We have recently seen former Pakistan cricketers Misbah-Ul-Haq and Younus Khan complaining about poor facilities for domestic cricketers in Pakistan.
On the other side, Laxman is happy with BCCI's work to improve cricketing infrastructure in India. "A lot of credit should be given to BCCI. One of the reasons why IPL is important is the revenue it generates. All the two-tier and three-tier cities have unbelievable infrastructure now. The Vizag stadium is unbelievable. The stadiums in Thiruvananthapuram and Lucknow have world-class facilities.
"Back in the day, it wasn't the case. I didn't learn how to dive because we played on gravel, without a lush green outfield."
There is always a discussion on who faced more pressure, the cricketers from the past era or the current era? Laxman feels the modern cricketers have more challenges.
"The youngsters can't take cricket for granted these days. The current day cricketers face a lot of challenges. When you're scrutinised, you have to always behave properly, like a role model. The influence you have on younger generation is crucial," Laxman said.
"Everyone can comment about the lifestyle and performance of cricketers. Suppose you get trolled, it can emotionally disturb you. How do you cut that off is a challenge now. A lot of negativity can kill.
"The social media is also a great way to connect with your fans. This platform was never there during our time. During our days, the letters fans wrote to use would take a month or two to reach us.
"You talk about [Virat] Kohli's Instagram where is posting videos of his fitness workouts. There are a lot of people who can get inspired about fitness, nutrition. All those can inspire the younger generation."
(With India Today Inputs)