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WALKING INTO THE SUNSET

India’s world cup dreams lay shattered by one rank bad performance by what was otherwise a clinically sharp display.

India lost because they were becoming arrogant and full of themselves. They lost because they were attributing everything good to one man, just as has been the practice in politics in recent times. He may have had tears in his eyes, but then he was in no small measure, despite his best intentions, responsible for India’s early exit. I hate to say it, but the truth needs to be told. Because Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been an inspirational cricketer.
India sadly lacks an understanding of how its legends need to be phased out. Dhoni should not have been in the flight to England in the first place. He was struggling and that struggle showed up. When you say that a guy must be in a team because his sheer presence is inspirational and that he need not perform, you are unfair both to him and
the team.

Now don’t get me wrong. Dhoni has been an transformational player, rising from the ranks to occupy space in the minds of the people. But a time comes when you must call it quits, and it doesn’t appear Dhoni is in any sort of hurry.

Do legends know when to go?

People say legends know when to go. That’s farthest from the truth. They don’t know when to leave the arc light because they have been amidst it for far too long. They, more than anyone, else need to be told when their time is up. Remember, this is a team game and not an individual sport. A Mike Tyson or a Roger Taylor can afford to prolong their career, with different degrees of success. The same cannot be said of team games. In a team game, it is not just that your performance hurts the team, but it also holds up the career of an aspiring player. It’s all fine to say that age is only a number, but sports, like movies, is a short-duration career.

I would also think that Dhoni should not try to get into cricket administration, coaching, or into politics. This talk of giving back to the game is nonsense. He has given back to the game by playing stellar cricket. Once you walk into the sunset, you should walk and not return. Also, people who continue in the same field holding higher positions tend to look at situations in an autobiographical manner. They respond based on what happened to them during their playing days. Further, a great player does not necessarily make a great coach, and it’s a thankless job.

Keep away from politics

Politics should be the last resort for icons. Sachin made the cardinal mistake of becoming a member of parliament and has since then not been able to hold the high esteem he once held. In a politically fragmented and immature India, it’s the last thing one must do. Remember in the last six years even the well-educated tend to be acrimonious in private conversations.

Dhoni like Sachin deserves to walk into the sunset and enjoy the rest of his life. Maybe, just maybe, he can take another sport or profession.

Now, all this is true not only in sports but in business as well. Remember how the Tata Satraps had to leave kicking and screaming. Most of them overstayed their welcome. Look at politics. The elderly leaders in the BJP had to be agonizingly sidelined, not a pleasant sight considering that they were stalwarts. But they brought it upon themselves. For now, it appears that Rahul Gandhi has got it right, provided he is truly exiting and not going to loom like a shadow!

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