`Midas touch` nothing new for Mahi, says his first coach

Updated: Apr 06, 2011, 20:52 PM IST

New Delhi: 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, said.

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."