Don’t we all take a break from time to time? Not too many people bother and it doesn’t make the news. But when Mahendra Singh Dhoni takes a break, it becomes major news all over the cricketing world. The Indian One Day International and Twenty20 captain has decided that it’s about time he takes a break– before he, well – collapses from sheer exhaustion. He has cried off from the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka beginning in a few weeks. It seems he will be back in action for the One dayers that start after the Test series.
14 Tests, 56 ODIs, 8 Twenty20 Internationals and 16 matches in the IPL Twenty20 tournament. Impressive figures for any cricketer. This is what Dhoni has played since January 2007. Ever since his debut in 2004 he has played in 115 ODIs.
I think it is a very sensible decision on his part. The body and mind do need a rest. He is very fit at 27 but the strain of playing so many games in the last few years in particular does take its toll. He has virtually played non-stop over the last year. On top of that are the pressures of being the captain of the ODI and Twenty20 squads. He was also subjected to enormous pressure in the IPL tourney when he was the highest paid player of them all. He acquitted himself very well though his team- the Chennai Super Kings lost in the finals.
The rewards are many for successful cricketers these days. Yet they have a grueling schedule with packed calenders of games apart from a lot of travel, constant media exposure and consequently very little time to themselves. The expectations of the fans are always high. They expect the players to win every match.
All this leads to considerable stress. Dhoni has the guts and the stature to ask for this break. Most would not for fear that their places will be grabbed by someone else or they will face the wrath of the powerful BCCI.
Let’s take a lesson from MS : It is better to take a break than break down completely.
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This is Post No: 221 of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success