How MS Dhoni came up with unique punishment to prevent Indian players from coming late to practice

Written by Pushpendra Albe

Former India mental conditional coach Paddy Upton has made several revelations in his book Barefoot, including some controversial inputs on former opening batsman Gautam Gambhir. In a recent book launch event, Upton also spoke about the mental solitude of former skipper MS Dhoni and how he came up with a funny punishment to prevent the members of the Indian team from coming late.

“His (Dhoni’s) real strength is his calmness and composure, regardless of the situation of the game. And being such a strong leader, using his level-headedness in tough situations, he gives the other players permission to remain calm and composed. That I think is the real strength that he has,” said Upton during a media event for his book The Barefoot Coach in Kolkata.

Upton, during the event, revealed how Dhoni came up with a unique punishment that got the members of the Indian team to follow the prescribed practice routine without fail.

“When I joined the team Anil Kumble was the captain of the Test team and MS Dhoni was the captain of the ODI team. We had a very self-governing process. So we said to the team ‘is it important to be on time for the practice and team meetings?’ Everyone said yes it is. So we asked them if anyone is not on time is there anything one should give up? We discussed it amongst ourselves and the players, and eventually, it was left to the captain to decide,” said Upton.

While Kumble came up with a fine of Rs 10,000 for a player who is late, Dhoni brought in a twist in the same punishment that saw the players follow it more religiously.

“In the test team, Anil Kumble said that the consequence would be a ten thousand rupees (10,000) fine which the person who was late would have to pay. And then we had the same conversation with the one day team and there also MS (Dhoni) said that ‘yes there should be a consequence. So if somebody is late, everybody will pay a ten thousand rupees fine!’ Nobody was ever late from the one day team again,” the South African recalled.

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Pushpendra Albe