MSD made players feel they can be world-beaters

Tiger Pataudi showed his India teammates what self-respect is, Sourav Ganguly taught his troops to stand up to the best in the business and Mahendra Singh Dhoni provided them the spunk to be world-beaters.

There have also been captains who can be categorised as brilliant and even inspiring. They led the side by personal example, like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar, or even Mohammad Azharuddin. They all had their innings, never looking like leaders of champions.

Not that they lacked leadership qualities, they only left others in the team awestuck by raising their own bar, making it difficult for others to aim at. Dhoni inspired confidence in his players.

Dhoni is one leader who said after his first major success — the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa — what he looked for in his teammates: He would like to see them stand in front of a moving truck! In other words, he wanted them to sacrifice everything for the team and the captain.

Certainly not all were willing to do that and there were times a couple of them challenged his authority, but he overcame them without the arguments getting ugly. Of course, like some of his predecessors he had the backing of the Indian cricket board, to be precise, its chief.

In a time span of six years he has achieved everything possible, starting with the 2007 Twenty20 title to the World Number One Test team in 2009 to the 2011 World Cup and finally the Champions Trophy in 2013. Incredible! And the only man who can aspire to reach such heights is Virat Kohli, brought up in the same school of thought in recognising the talent of his players and nursing it.

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