Renowned for his ability to excel under pressure, MS Dhoni is an inspiration for youngsters, who wish to represent India and have long careers at the highest level, reckons Dhoni's ex-India and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) teammate, Subramaniam Badrinath.
Badrinath had the honour of playing his 2 Tests for India under Dhoni's captaincy, apart from spending his six-year-long IPL career with him at the helm till 2013.
"For me, the epitome of mind skills training is MS Dhoni," the 39-year-old told Indian Express. "Whenever I saw him with his captaincy, the way he approaches the game. I think he is the ultimate, the one guy who does not need any mind skill training. I think people can learn from him because he has maximised his potential into results. Whatever he is doing I think he is totally detached. That’s what helps him as well."
“We talk about pressure, media, what people are going to write, we talk about everything. He is not bothered about anything else. He completely believes that whatever he is doing is right. That is the approach everybody needs to have."
"I would like to say that just do what Dhoni is doing as a cricketer. He is totally detached from everything automatically," said Badrinath. "When he is going out there, going about the business, it feels as though the 50,000 people watching him are not there. He is alone, he knows clearly in his mind what he needs to do, and he goes about it."
Badrinath, who also played 7 ODIs and 1 T20I for India, recently launched MFORE – a non-profit initiative offering Mind Conditioning Programs to achieve peak performance for cricketers.
In times like these, where players are thankfully more open to publicly revealing their mental health issues, such initiatives can definitely help.
Badrinath understands how vulnerable players are, as he himself turned up only 10 times for India despite inarguably being one of the finest to have played at the domestic level.
"I started on a high (fifty on Test debut versus South Africa in Nagpur) . What I could have done, it’s too late to actually talk about the selection and all that. I feel what I could have done much better with is the expectations... I started thinking about the future. That time I should have just been in the present," he said.
"When you are actually sitting and watching a player just playing on the TV. You just see the player is playing a shot and all that but there are 10,000 different thoughts going on in his mind. People don’t see that. If I had known all that I know now, I could have handled all that much better."
A Tamil Nadu great, Badrinath deemed off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as the toughest cricketer to have come out of his state.
"In Tamil Nadu, I think it’s R Ashwin. He is phenomenal the way he is. The way he thinks about the game. He is talented, he is blessed with a lot of talent, but he is the one who knows his cricket inside out," he said.
"He (Ashwin) is the guy who knows his game. What he can do, what he cannot do. He is completely aware of even the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. I think he is completely in control of his game."
(Inputs from Indian Express)