Dhoni looks to shake off his shackles | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Dhoni looks to shake off his shackles

cricket Updated: Apr 09, 2011 23:57 IST
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Sanjjeev Karan Samyal
Hindustan Times
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Given the high stakes involved, it's not possible for Indian players to always let their natural instincts take over. They are at their best when they play without a care in the world, but such moments are rare in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of Indian cricket. But when they sense such an opportunity, there is no stopping them.

MS Dhoni gets this chance after a long, long time. The World Cup triumph provides him that opportunity.

Having held himself back from playing his free flowing game due to the intense scrutiny the Indian captain's job brings, he is now feeling free of the shackles after the World Cup triumph.

For former national selection chief Kiran More, whose committee gave Dhoni his first
international break, the authoritative innings (91 not out) in the final was a release of months of frustration and pressure.

"He was under intense pressure, definitely for the World Cup. He was feeling it and it showed in his game. They were the No 1 Test team and No 2 in the ODIs, were playing at home; the expectations were very high. He was holding himself back and had changed his game to adjust to the team's demands. I warn the bowlers to watch out for him now," said More.

Dhoni's batting was up and down throughout the World Cup before he turned it all around. "For someone under so much pressure, I loved the way he made his entry (against Sri Lanka). He just raced to the centre," added More.

Dhoni's coach at the Chennai Super Kings, Stephen Fleming, couldn't agree more.

"MS is confident after his knock in the World Cup and (when that happens) his confidence flows through the side and also performances flow. The pressure that a great country like India puts on their players and for him torespond, I think it's going to lead into a couple of months where he can bat with a bit of freedom.

"If he has been held back by the pressure, desire and the opportunity to win the World Cup, then it will free him up in the IPL. You can see two exciting months for MS Dhoni," said the former New Zealand captain.

However, the IPL opener showed Dhoni is still hungry and itching to make the most of this phase.

He started with a 21-ball 29 on a sluggish wicket against Kolkata Knight Riders, but his impact on the field was magical.

His run out of Yusuf Pathan, when he raced to short square-leg and conjured up an on-the-turn direct hit with only one stump to aim at, was an act of an inspired individual.