Home > Education > Cricketer’s Mindset: Why Dhoni leads?

1983: India Captain Kapil Dev holds the trophy aloft after the World Cup match against the West Indies at Lord’s in London. India won the match by 43 runs. Mandatory Credit: Dave Cannon/Allsport

When Kapil’s Devils won the world cup, I was five years old. While I have celebrated the win very time, the world cup was around the corner, it still wasn’t my cup. I grew up with the Tendulkars and the Gangulys.

So after a wait that lasted over two decades, when Dhoni landed the six over the roof top, it was not just a dream for Sachin but also most of us. So what if we were balding and had pouches like kangaroos! That was our world cup.

As much as MH Dhoni was the architect of that famous final, there was another batting sensation, Gautam Gambhir. Not much separated the two in terms of performance but a lot did in their mindset.

Yes, as a mindset coach, this is when things get interesting. Carol Dwerk mentions in her path breaking book that we are endowed with two kinds of mindsets – fixed and growth. Our attitudes and personalities define who we choose to be.

Gambhir and Dhoni are about the same age, began their cricket the hard way and relatively from same belt of North India. But it’s here where the comparison stops.


Look at the leadership at the IPL.

Both lead their respective franchisees to two championship trophies. Gambhir was the toast of Kolkata leading Knight Riders (KKR) to amazing victories. Dhoni, well he is the ‘thalaa’ for Chennai. The ‘thalaa’ loosely translated as the head is the heart of the yellow army and as with most South Indian legends almost worshiped at the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). Yes, he too won two trophies for the Super Kings.

But then what makes, one franchise drop their hero and another not even hesitate to retain him. Both do not belong to the respective state franchisee. Dhoni’s Tamil is just as awful as Gambhir’s Bengali!

It’s the mindset.


What Dhoni ensures is that he reads the game and plays to the strength of his team. He believes that talent cannot outgrow efforts. His efforts pay off. His leadership brings the best in others. His team rallies for him, around him and with him. The growth mindset.

Gambhir, is gifted. Absolutely. His records speaks for himself. He is a wonderful patriotic person too. Follow him on Twitter and you would salute his social work. Yet, his confrontations have led to poor relationships. His own Rajni team disowned him. KKR refused to have him back. The Kolkata’s ‘apna chele’ wasn’t to be. The prodigal son. The fixed mindset.

I remember Dhoni mentioning at the post match interview after that grand final, ‘I told Gambhir not to give it away. It’s not every-day you get an opportunity to score a century at the world cup final.’ Gambhir got bowled on 97.
And Dhoni, well, he sealed it with a six. Here lies the difference. The Mindset difference.

About the Author
The author Dawood Vaid’s journey from engineer to educationist has taken him across Russia, Switzerland and Dubai. He is a teacher trainer and a Growth Mindset Coach. Hold an MBA, an MA in Education and a certificate course on ‘Teaching of 21st Century Skills’ by The University of Melbourne. He has developed capsules using the 21st century skills under the organization Sky Education which he head as the CEO. The capsules focuses on the core theme HEAL – Humanities, Environment, Arts and Language.

Hear him speak at YouTube: Sky Education TV or email dawood@skyeducation.in

One Comment, RSS

  • Sangeeta Yadav

    says on:
    May 1, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Beautiful write up Dawood….loved the mindset theory…… 👍🏻👍🏻😀
    Sangeeta Yadav
    Portflip Ventures Private Limited

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *