Of all the sportsmen, I admire MS Dhoni and Brian Lara the
most. Whether India wins or not, I try to hear his words
and learn from his temperament. Found this wonderful
interview of Dhoni where he talks about the role
of mind, and gives advice on how to be a better player.
These advice apply as well to other things as to cricket.
What advice would you give to a young player who wants
to improve his game?
First and foremost, I would tell him that he must love and
enjoy his sport. If he does not enjoy it he would not
learn to play the game as quickly or as well as he should.
Second, I would tell him to keep things simple. The more
he complicates the process the harder it will be for him
to improve his game. For example, when he tells himself to
watch the ball and play it on its merits, he might have
other thoughts like scoring runs or not getting out in his mind.
Those thoughts can break his concentration and prevent him
from watching the ball. If he knows that the bowler can
bowl an out-swinger, an in-swinger and a good bouncer as
well, he has three other things to think about. But the
more he thinks about what the bowler might do the more
complex and difficult batting becomes.
Third, I would tell him to capitalise on his strengths,
improve his weaknesses and recognise his limitations.
A lot of people talk about the problems players face when
they have to play in conditions that are foreign to them.
For instance, when Indian batsmen who are brought up on
slow flat wickets have to play on the fast and bouncy
wickets in Australia and South Africa.
When I go to Australia or South Africa I try to be
positive and see the visit as a challenge and an
opportunity to explore, learn and improve my game. I try
not to be negative or worry about the pace and bounce of
the wickets or the things that could possibly go wrong.
Learning and improvement take time. When you leave nursery
school you don’t expect to go straight into a graduate
school. In the following years you slowly improve as a
student and when you reach a certain standard you graduate
and afterwards go on to higher levels. The same thing
happens in sport.
The player should therefore be patient and persistent and
he should keep things simple and enjoy his sport. Not only
should he enjoy his own performance on the field but he
should also get pleasure from sharing his experiences with
other players and from creating an atmosphere that helps
the guy sitting next to him in the dressing room to
This is one area where the Indian team is very blessed.
The senior players in our team have helped the younger
players to learn, develop and perform better. Your
individual performance is important but how much better
you help your teammate to play better is equally important.
This was just one of the passages from the complete
interview. Would try to go through the interview
again and again at regular intervals.