He may have eased up on captaincy duties and may not be your archetypal speaker, but MS Dhoni's unique approach to his game and achievements make him as good as anyone else to motivate young talent.
In Delhi before he leads the ODI squad to Bangladesh, Dhoni was at the National Stadium on Saturday morning for a practice session. It was a trip down memory lane as Dhoni was a trainee at the stadium more than a decade ago. Dhoni will leave for Dhaka on Monday.
Dhoni took a break from training to share his experience as a young sportsman with India's junior girls' hockey team. "Extra hard work, even after your body is tired, makes you strong. I used to do that when I was your age. I used to run 25 rounds. My stamina was very good at your age as I loved to push myself even after my body was tired," Dhoni told the group, a player told HT.
The hockey coach, NS Saini, was posted in Ranchi some time back and knew Dhoni. He requested Dhoni to give a pep talk for the team which was in the stadium for a gym session.
Dhoni spent about 20 minutes with the girls. "Listen to your coaches carefully. You must remember that at this age only fitness and skill is in your control. You should not bother about other things. Your hard work will never go in vain. I played football in school and that helped me a lot in my cricket," he told them.
Dhoni was back at the batting nets once again. Later, Sports Authority India's (SAI) cricket coach, MP Singh, too requested him to speak to a bunch of young cricketers.
"It was a good session for the pace bowlers. He told them 'if you can bowl six balls over off-stump, batsmen will have to respect you'. This is the key for bowlers in international cricket," MP Singh told HT.