NEW DELHI, April 6 (PTI): Even as the cricket world goes gaga over his captaincy, the coach who introduced Mahendra Singh Dhoni to the sport, says the India skipper has been a man with the �Midas touch� right from his school days.
�Mahi had this Midas touch during his school days also. It was due to his tremendous on-field and off-field effort, that our team did win the inter-school championship for six years at a stretch,� says Keshav Ranjan Banerjee, the sports instructor of Jawahar Vidhya Mandir in Ranchi.
�When he led the school team in 12th standard, I got a hint that he will one day become the India captain,� Banerjee, who forced Mahi to shift his allegiance from football to cricket, tells PTI Bhasha.
Despite missing out on tours with India�s under-19 and A teams due to illness, Dhoni, the coach reveals, never gave up hope.
�In 2000-01, he was selected in India�s under-19 and A team, but he had fractured his wrist and was also suffering from Jaundice. He withdrew his name and Ajay Ratra got selected. When I asked why did you let this chance go, his reply was �don�t worry sir, I will be in the senior team in next 3 years�, and that happened,� Banerjee says.
What impressed the coach was Dhoni�s calm and cool attitude during his time as captain of the school team.
�Neither he got scared of any challenge nor did he lost his temper at anytime. Whenever we lost a match, he would console me that we will win the next one. He was the captain cool from the beginning of his career.�
The coach also refused to attribute Dhoni�s envious record to luck.
�He used to play soccer in 6th standard. I was looking for a wicketkeeper for a school team and, after watching his excellent goalkeeping skills, I offered him to play cricket. He worked hard to learn the game and waited for 18 months to get a place in the school team. That says a lot about his patience and dedication,� Banerjee says.
�He used to practice hard after classes. There was just one condition from his family that he should get decent marks, and Mahi never failed in that respect.�