When MS Dhoni took over as the captain of the Indian cricket team, the wicketkeeper-batsman came up with innovative ideas to ensure that his teammates were never late for any meetings, revealed India’s former mental conditioning coach Paddy Upton.
Speaking during a media event for his book The Barefoot Coach in Kolkata, Paddy Upton narrated how the then captains Anil Kumble and Dhoni came up with the new rules. “When I joined the team Anil Kumble was the captain of the Test team and MS Dhoni was the captain of the ODI team. We had a very self-governing process. So we said to the team ‘is it important to be on time for the practice and team meetings?’ Everyone said yes it is.”
“So we asked them if anyone is not on time is there anything one should give up? We discussed it amongst ourselves and the players, and eventually, it was left to the captain to decide,” Upton said.
While Kumble, who retired from Test cricket in 2008, concluded that every latecomer should be fined Rs 10,000, Dhoni came up with an even bigger punishment, announcing that if a player was late, the rest of the side would pay up Rs 10,000 each.
“In the Test team, Anil Kumble said that the consequence would be a ten thousand rupees fine which the person who was late would have to pay. And then we had the same conversation with the one day team and there also MS said that ‘yes there should be a consequence. So if somebody is late, everybody will pay 10 thousand rupees fine!’ Nobody was ever late from the one day team again,” Upton said.
Praising Dhoni for his calmness and composure, Upton said, “His real strength is his calmness and composure, regardless of the situation of the game. Being such a strong leader, using his level-headedness in tough situations, he gives the other players permission to remain calm and composed. That I think is the real strength that he has.”