India's first assignment under Rahul Dravid as the head coach of the India national cricket team will be against South Africa in an all-format tour starting December 20 following the ongoing Australia tour of India.
Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir believes the appointment of MS Dhoni as the mentor for the Indian team in the men’s T20 World Cup is attributed to his experience and mindset of handling pressure in crunch games. He also said that young players in the team will benefit from his experiences as captain and handling pressure situations.
On Wednesday, BCCI secretary Jay Shah made the announcement of Dhoni’s appointment as India’s mentor for the T20 World Cup in the UAE in a virtual press conference.
“A good story to have, but I’m sure his (MS Dhoni) role will be defined because you’ve got the head coach, the assistant coach, and the bowling coach. So, I’m sure there has to be something from Virat Kohli or Ravi Shastri on what they would want apart from what they already have because India has been very successful in T20 Cricket. It’s not like India has struggled in T20 Cricket,” said Gambhir in a special T20 World Cup squad episode on Follow the Blues show on Star Sports on Thursday.
“Had India struggled in T20 cricket, they might have had to get someone from outside, but Dhoni’s experience and his mindset of handling pressure in those crunched games could be one reason why they’ve got him as a mentor – not purely from the skill point of view, because these guys have got all the skill, to go out there and deliver,” observed Gambhir.
The 39-year-old MP from East Delhi felt that the ability to handle pressure from Dhoni is something that will be advantageous for the youngsters in the team to learn. “It’s probably, how to handle pressure during those important games because India had missed out on those important games — especially the Knockout games. So probably MS Dhoni’s experience of captaining this side and handling that pressure in those important games could be a huge advantage for young players. And you have to remember that most of these guys are young, for example, your Rahul Chahar and Varun Chakravarthy or any of these batters play — they’ve not been to any of the world cups.”
Gambhir concluded by saying that Dhoni’s mentorship will be more towards the experience side. “So, I’m sure MS will share his experience. That probably is the only thing I can think of; apart from that, I don’t see that MS Dhoni change anything from a skill point of view. Ravi Shastri’s been there, Vikram Rathour has been there, and the entire support staff is there. So, probably MS can only add his experience to the players while probably going into the crunch games.”
India named a 15-member squad for the men’s T20 World Cup on Wednesday to be led by Virat Kohli. There were surprise inclusions in Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel while Shikhar Dhawan and Yuzvendra Chahal missed out. India begins their journey in the men’s T20 World Cup against Group 2 rivals Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai.