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Radhakrishnan Sreenivasan
Wednesday, March 05, 2008 at 15 : 34



"Sabse Chota kaun?" Those were the first lines of Mahendra Singh Dhoni when he was asked to call upon his side to lift the tri-nations trophy. It was Piyush Chawla who responded and picked up the trophy first. This gesture to me conveyed two things. One, Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not the kind of guy who would hog the limelight and more importantly, number two - He is making a statement that youth is the way forward. And lets be honest, everyone would have admired the gesture. For all the critics in the world who doubted the young brigade, there could not have been a better stage to answer them.

It's often believed that the ice cool look of a Bjorn Borg is far more noticeable and dangerous than an effervescent John McEnroe. I'm not comparing the skills of the legends but am trying to make a point here.

You are always guarded about a man who checks his emotions and keep it to himself. That's why you never knew what a Steve Waugh was up to or what a Pete Sampras was up to. There is a lot of time left to take the name of Mahendra Singh Dhoni alongside the greats that I have talked about. No doubting that. But Dhoni's complete check on his emotions was very different from whatever cricket I have seen in the past.

The usually calm Rahul Dravid showed his emotions after the Adelaide Test win in 2003-04 or a Test series win in England. Or we are used to a Ganguly who had a bare it all attitude. But here you are, a young captain in Dhoni who seemed to let his feeling sink in the minute Chawla grabbed Hopes to put paid to Australia's hopes.

He was as composed as he was when he handed Pathan to bowl the last over of the final. Quite remarkable maturity I thought. It also tells me that here is a man who believes in winning and winning for the team.

But at the same time, cricket is not the be all and end all of life. There is more to life than a bat and a ball. It's a great attitude to have and it can only help the team because you know you have a captain who has a cool head above his shoulders. A captain who can pick a Piyush Chawla or a Praveen Kumar or ask Irfan Pathan to bowl the last over. He is only telling his boys that he has no doubt whatsoever about the abilities of the guys in the squad. Even a legendary figure like Sunil Gavaskar was a bit skeptical about Dhoni's choice for the final over. But that's the defiance that makes you different. You think because you know the team and the situation best. And you back your instincts.

But for things to click, the team has to deliver. Almost every member of that side can look back at this Australian summer with pride. It will be only fair to say that almost every youngster has gone up a notch or two after this tour. I hope we maintain the level of energy and verve gained in Australia. I'm sure we can do that. After all it's a young team.


More about Radhakrishnan Sreenivasan

S Radhakrishnan, better known as RK, is a sports freak. After dabbling in the world of Physics at the Madras Christian College, he did his Masters in Business Administration from Mumbai. Working in a corporate world didn’t suit him and he decided to enter the world of journalism. During his stint with ESPN Star Sports, RK covered the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2003, before moving on to join NEO Sports as their prime anchor. He is now the face of NEO Prime and NEO Sports.