Mukul Kesavan:

Best of all, Dhoni insisted that they had won it for each other, for the team. “We wanted to win the trophy for each other first. The first thing you want to do is give them [the team] happiness; to see it in their eyes.” The team consciously decided to “…concentrate and keep it small. If you do well and win the World Cup, the whole country has a share in it.” The commitment to victory for the sake of the team came first; the expectations of their billion compatriots came afterwards.

Contrast this with L.K. Advani’s response to Rajdeep Sardesai after the match. Advani declared that he was very pleased with the win because the win would promote national feeling, respect for the flag and the national anthem. Like all political zealots, his only interest in sport is instrumental: the game itself, the fellowship of team sport, mean nothing to him. Dhoni’s unerring discrimination in these matters, his knack for avoiding the easy nationalism that comes naturally to politicians like Advani or starlets like Preity Zinta, make him not just a wonderful captain, but a remarkable and unusual public figure.

Nailed it.

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