RAJESH KUMAR - Cricket Statisticians

Pages: 194

Price: Rs.295

Published by
The Lotus Collection - An Imprint of Roli Books Pvt. Ltd.
M-75, Greater Kailash II Market, New Delhi - 110048
Phone: +91 - 11 - 40682000
Website: www.rolibooks.com

Communications Manager: Nandini Vaish
Email id: nandini@rolibooks.com

Mapping the journey of India's most successful cricket skipper, the book charts the unparalleled rise of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. From playing tennis ball cricket in Ranchi and Kharagpur to his patented helicopter shot, the journey of Captain Cool is replete with incidents and anecdotes. Dhoni has come a long way with his grit and determination. With best ODI and Test records among all Indian captains to date, it is his simple and down-to-earth attitude that works wonders for the captain as well as the team.

The book, according to the Shantanu Guha Ray, is a simple compilation of events - some private, some official - that actually shaped Mahendra Singh Dhoni into a cricketer, and eventually the captain of the national team.

The book reveals that Dhoni was encouraged to watch video tapes of legendary goalkeepers such as Lev Yashin, Peter Shilton and Dino Zoff to improve his skills under the bar. "He was the first player to reach the football field and the last to leave. He was in love with the game," writes Ray.

The book narrates how Dhoni moved away from football at the insistence and persistence of Keshav Ranjan Banerjee, the cricket coach at the DAV Jawahar Vidya Mandir school in Ranchi's Shyamali neighbourhood. The coach recalls he walked "into Dhoni's class as the English teacher was reading stanzas out of William Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage" and asked the teenager to step out of the class room.

On being asked to shift to cricket. "Dhoni was transfixed. 'Yeh to khel hi doosra hai. Dost kya bolenge. (This is a different game altogether, what will my friends say,' was his first, rather innocent reaction," the book says. Even after Dhoni had moved to cricket, football stayed on his mind. Banerjee had to work hard to keep his interest alive in the willow game. In fact, one day, sitting on a wooden bench on the edge of the cricket field, Banerjee told him the story of Saurav Ganguly, who had also hoped to become a footballer before moving on to cricket, to motivate him, writes Guha Ray.

Dhoni's sister, Jayanti Gupta believes, "Dhoni is humble, has a workman's ethic and a clear sense of responsibility. When Jharkhand government offered him a Ph.D, he refused because he didn't complete his graduation." She says her brother owes his strength to their mother Devki who encouraged him to play cricket. He calls her after every match. When he is playing, she prays to Krishna for his success.

Dhoni's life and how he got into the Indian cricket team could well be a lesson for all those who want to be successful in cricket without a Godfather, according to Ray.

What makes the enigmatic Dhoni tick? "A simple, down-to-earth attitude works wonders for the Indian cricket captain. The parents' simplicity had an interesting rub-off effect on the son. Dhoni does not have too many flunkies following him, just his wife and a very small group of friends and family members. He rarely parties and barring cricket and motor bikes, nothing interests him much", remarks Ray.

In a chapter called A Phenomenon called Dhoni, the author says Dhoni has overtaken every other national celebrity, from Bollywood stars to other sportspeople. Whoever they are, and whatever their level of star power, Dhoni has hit them for of those out-of-the stadium boundaries in his trademark lappa, or the helicopter shot. a shot that belongs to Dhoni and Dhoni alone.
Shantanu Guha Ray and the publishers, Roli Books are to be congratulated on the book's production. They have produced a well-written and worthwhile book.