Indian limited overs captain MS Dhoni on Thursday recalled how he and Virender Sehwag endured the harsh reactions from fans and media after India's early exit in the 2007 ODI World Cup held at West Indies. He, however, also credited the same event for shaping him into a better player and cricketer.
The Indian team, led by Rahul Dravid, were eliminated in the group stages of the 2007 ODI World Cup after defeats to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh which had sparked very angry reactions from the fans and drew harsh criticism from experts. But seven months later, the crowd's boos turned into cheers as they won the inaugural T20 World Cup in South Africa in September,2007. As a member of the team that oversaw the change, MS Dhoni was very much responsible for the transformation. Speaking about his experiences after landing in India post the ODI World Cup exit, MS Dhoni said,
"When we landed in Delhi, there was a lot of media. At times, people feel that we are not emotional enough about it, but I always felt, as sports persons, you have to be strong enough to go through everything and it has to be within yourself. It is not about coming for a press conference and crying about stuff, or crying in the field about what has happened."
"At that point of time, when we landed, we had to get out in a police van. I was sitting next to Viru [Virender Sehwag] paaji. It was evening or night time. We were travelling at a decent speed - 60 or 70 kms - and that's quite a bit for India, that too on the narrow roads. And, you know, media cars around us with their cameras and the big lights on top, it felt as if we had committed a big crime, maybe like a murderer or terrorist or something. We were actually chased by them,” reported ESPN Cricinfo.
Dhoni, who later guided India to the World Cup title in 2011 at home, stressed that the experience four years ago helped him to be the player he was later.
"After a while, we entered a police station. We went there, we sat for a while and then we left in our cars after 15-20 minutes. That actually had a big impact on me and I channelised the aggression to become a better cricketer and a better human being."
Dhoni was in New York, USA, for the promotion of the movie about his life's story, MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, told that the movie will depict him as a normal sports person rather than as a glorified hero.
"It is a very simple story and that is the beauty of it," Dhoni said about the movie. "One thing I told Neeraj [the director] was, this story should not be to glorify me. It is about the journey of a professional sports person and that's what it should be about."
When asked the question on what worked for him as a cricketer and as a person, Dhoni said, "How to keep things simple in life? Often, you hear legends talking about 'watch the ball, hit the ball,' and that's how simple it is.”
MS Dhoni: The Untold Story will release in theatres on September 30, 2016.