Former Indian batsman Robin Uthappa recently recalled his conversation with MS Dhoni in the lead up to the 14th season of the IPL. The right-hander, a former IPL winner, was picked up by the Chennai Super Kings from Rajasthan Royals before the mini-auction earlier this year.
Uthappa revealed his interaction with Dhoni ahead of IPL 2021, during the '22 Yarns' podcast with Gaurav Kapoor on Spotify. The former Indian international revealed that Dhoni told him that picking him wasn't the sole decision of the latter. He also revealed how Dhoni made it clear to him that he won't walk straight away into the CSK starting XI.
"He (MS Dhoni) welcomed m,e and told me straight up 'I had nothing to do with you being picked in the side. I don't want anything to do with this because tomorrow I don't want credit or brick bats for me favoring you,"
"So, I know for fact that I was picked solely on my ability and performances in the previous season. The second thing he said to me 'you'll not walk into the first XI immediately. He said that we have had guys who have done well and we'll see how things go and when we are closer to the tournament, I'll know whether you are playing or not."
Transparency in communication, especially with fringe players, is something that is a hallmark of a great team. Uthappa believes that CSK is a perfect example of that, adding:
"What I love about this set-up is the communication has been so open. And I think that is so important for the success of a team. To be able to directly communicate to players as to what your expectations are. I think the success of a team is based on the energy driven by players who aren't playing in the XI."
Robin Uthappa did not get a game during the first leg of IPL 2021, and it will be interesting to see if he gets an opportunity in the second phase.
One of the greatest qualities of captain MS Dhoni is his ability to gauge situations and back his instincts while making a decision. For him, it's all about making the right call at the right time, as Uthappa revealed Dhoni telling him:
"MS has always said - "It's not about making the best decision at any time, it's about making the right decision at the right time."
Dhoni is also one of the prime examples of how one should optimise the available resources at one's disposal rather than cribbing about ones unavailable. He said:
"He says - "Understanding of boundaries are everything. He works with what he has got, and doesn't complain. He makes the most of the available resources,"
MS Dhoni will once again be back on the cricket field when CSK lock horns with Mumbai Indians in the opening game of the second leg on September 19.