Body language crucial: Dhoni

Body language crucial: Dhoni

Indian skipper to start a sports academy in Ranchi

Body language crucial: Dhoni

Captain cool: Dhoni interacts with the media on Friday. PTI

The Chennai Super Kings skipper has been conspicuous by his absence at most of the pre- and post-match press conferences during IPL III, restricting his media appearances to mandatory television chats with the host broadcasters either side of the game.

On Friday, Dhoni and model-turned-actor Dino Morea launched merchandising for school kids including water bottles, bags and the like through ‘School Mall’, and the Indian captain was happy to share his views on a variety of cricketing issues.

Dhoni has always been Captain Cool, unflappable under pressure and loathe to showing emotion on the park. “If you stay cool and calm, it helps the bowler,” the Jharkhandi explained. “He looks up to me when things are not going right, and if he finds me cool and calm, then he gets more confidence. It doesn't help if I go and yell at the players. In international cricket, body language is very important. So I try and keep my emotions under check.”

For the second time in two World T20s, Dhoni will have to make do without his deputy, Virender Sehwag. Unlike the attendant controversy in England last year, Sehwag has been ruled out of the event this year, again with a shoulder injury. “I don't know anything about the injury,” Dhoni admitted. “It happened during the IPL but I don't know when and how the injury happened. Viru is a class player. But I have  always said that injuries are part and parcel of sports. He and Gambhir have been doing a great job at the top of the innings. We just hope that M Vijay ensures we don't miss him much.”

Sachin Tendulkar, Dhoni’s opposite number in Sunday’s final, turns 37 on Saturday. “He was born to play cricket,” the younger man asserted. “I won't speak about his batting because everyone knows about it. But he is a very good fielder and his fitness is such that you won't feel he is 37. In the dressing room, he ensures that even the newcomers feel comfortable around him.”

There have been plenty of debates surrounding the IPL nights and the after parties. Dhoni had a simple take. “All players are smart,” he said. “You need to rest your body. Especially as an Indian cricketer, you need to be very careful with recovery in such a packed schedule. It will show immediately or a month later. All players know their bodies well. I don't want to speak for other players but I am sure they make sure they are at their best.”

His own future plans, Dhoni maintained not for the first time, revolved around starting a sports academy. “I want to start a sports academy in Ranchi, it's just in the planning stage,” he revealed. “I am not sure whether the other sports will be football, hockey or badminton. Cricket will definitely be there. Land has yet to be acquired, but sponsors are already coming forward.” Surprise, surprise!