If I say something now, he’ll get confused: Dhoni to Harbhajan when Shardul was taken to the cleaners
Former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is known for his calm captaincy. Dhoni is fondly referred to as ‘captain cool’. The India wicketkeeper-batsman has led India to three ICC titles - the T20I World Cup in 2007, the ODI World Cup in 2011 and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013. Dhoni has also led Chennai Super Kings as captain to three Indian Premier League titles. In a recent interview, veteran India spinner Harbhajan Singh recalls an incident highlighting Dhoni’s calmness as captain.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo’s The Cricket Monthly, Harbhajan was asked to talk about his experiences playing under Dhoni. “He is not a captain who says, do this, do that. He wants you to do what you know you can do. Bowl what you know you can. If you can bowl six offspinners, do that,” the 39-year-old said.
“Yes, he has nudged me at times - from behind the stumps or at change of overs - saying, this guy is trying to do this or will try this. But he never tells me what to do,” he added.
Harbhajan went on to recall a match in which Shardul Thakur was getting hit for plenty and he tried suggesting Dhoni to ask the fast bowler to make a couple of changes. “Once Shardul Thakur was bowling in Pune. He was getting hit every ball. First ball four, second ball six. I went to Dhoni and told him, “Why don’t you tell him [Thakur] to change the angle or push a fielder back?”,” Harbhajan recalled.
“As if he had all the time in the world, Dhoni said to me, “Bhajju pa, if I tell him anything now, he will get confused. Khaane do.” [Let him get hit.]He knew we could afford to get hit because we had already qualified for the playoffs.
“He [Dhoni] said, “When he [Thakur] feels there is no option left, then I can tell him he could try doing this.” So Dhoni will not tell you until you realise you are short of ideas,” the bowler added.