MS Dhoni has stated that he feels the pressure the moment he walks to the ground and it easily takes few deliveries for him to settle down and bat. The former Indian skipper has further added that a permanent mental conditioning coach is the necessity every day, not just for 15 days on tour.
MS Dhoni, whose calmness under pressure has created a historic chapter in Indian cricket, exemplified mental toughness by not bugging down under pressure. The way he handled the last overs of India-Pakistan T20 World Cup final and the crucial 2016 India-Bangladesh encounter, it is easy to say Dhoni’s toughness transcended time. But as the wicket-keeper admitted, it is not really the case as he also feels jitters for the first few deliveries upfront.
"Nobody really says that, when I go to bat, the first 5 to 10 deliveries my heart rate is elevated, I feel the pressure, I feel a bit scared because that's how everybody feels - how to cope with that? In India, I feel there is still a big issue of accepting that there is some weakness when it comes to the mental aspects, but we generally term it as mental illness," Dhoni stated while sharing his experiences with top coaches from various sports, including cricket, volleyball, tennis and golf in a session conducted by MFORE, reported TOI.
MFORE is a non-profit initiative launched by former Indian batsman Subramaniam Badrinath alongwith Saravana Kumar and the initiative focuses on offering mind conditioning programs to achieve peak performance in sports. Dhoni was full support for his former CSK and India teammate and stated that the mental conditioning coach should stay with the team for a longer period to understand the player better.
“This is a small problem but a lot of times we hesitate to say it to a coach and that's why the relationship between a player and coach is very important be it any sport. Mental conditioning coach should not be the one who comes for 15 days, because when you come for 15 days, you are only sharing the experience. If the mental conditioning coach is constantly with the player, he can understand what are the areas which are affecting his sport," Dhoni said.