‘Learnt Captaincy art from Dhoni: Faf du Plessis

Written by Mohan Sharma

Virat Kohli spoke about the similarities in the captaincy transition he had with MS Dhoni while playing for India and then with Faf du Plessis for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL. Dhoni handed over the Test and ODI captaincy – albeit in different times – to Kohli and the latter said there were no ego clashes between them and he was always open to suggestions from Dhoni. Kohli said it was exactly the same when he stepped down as RCB’s captain and du Plessis came in.

In his first season as RCB captain in 2022, du Plessis displayed exceptional leadership qualities while guiding the team to the IPL Playoffs.

Kohli is not the only common factor between Dhoni and du Plessis. In fact, the former South African captain was very close to Dhoni way before getting associated with RCB. While speaking on RCB Podcast Season 2, the second of the 10 episodes, du Plessis revealed how he learnt the captaincy art from various cricketers like Graeme Smith, Stephen Fleming, and MS Dhoni.

“I always had this leadership perspective of learning from great leaders, it (leadership) was always something that I was fascinated about. When I initially came into the South African team, Graeme Smith was the captain. I was like, Wow, this guy’s got an amazing presence when he speaks — like this big, blinding roar at you, and he just dominated the room while speaking. So I was like, that’s a leader, right?,” he said.

However, Faf was soon familiarised with an altogether different school of leadership, propagated by MS Dhoni at CSK when he joined the team in 2011.

“I got an opportunity to go to Chennai as a young-ish phase in my career. Stephen Fleming is one of the great leaders within the game, obviously, for New Zealand cricket also. The different aspect was him being a man manager, a guy who just works on relationships. And I go, Wow, that’s impressive. During my first season at CSK, I was sitting next to him (Fleming) and just asked him questions about captaincy and leadership, just to learn as much as I can. And then you put MS on top of that, and you go, Wow, this guy’s tactically odd to read the game like this. And you go, Okay, he is impressive as a captain.

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Mohan Sharma