Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are the living examples of the Bhagavad Gita philosophy of karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana. Dhoni and CSK have given this philosophy the English name called ‘process’.
Just like the Bhagavad that advises people to simply carry on with their tasks and not worry about rewards/results, the core philosophy of CSK is to ensure they make minimum mistakes in the field and let the result take care of itself. CSK have won the Indian Premier League (IPL) four times, and have reached the final in this edition. That’s plenty of proof that the ‘process’ is working.
The past and present CSK players talk about loyalty, backing of players, and no pressure of winning. CSK have more or less the same set-up from the time the IPL was launched in 2008.
Stephen Fleming, the coach, and Dhoni, and also West Indian DJ Bravo who’s now moved to the coaching staff, are just some of the regular faces. Performances of Ruturaj Gaekwad, Shivam Dube, and Ajinkya Rahane are prime examples of what consistent backing can do to a player’s confidence.
The intriguing part is “no pressure on winning”, that too in a dog-eat-dog world of the IPL. Hear it from Shane Watson, a former CSK player who single-handedly won them the 2018 IPL final against Sunrisers Hyderabad: “The environment Dhoni and Stephen Fleming created… you just went out and had fun. We never talked about results, we were just there to enjoy ourselves.”
Faf du Plessis, the former South African international who played ten years for the CSK before moving on to lead the Bangalore Royal Challengers, has similar things to say. He points to the stats, which say CSK have played in 14 of the 16 IPL seasons (they were banned for two years), going through 12 playoff/semi-finals, and ten finals, and are on the cusp of the fifth title.
“Through good times and bad, I never experienced panic in the side. CSK has always been a process-driven franchise, and not obsessed with results,” Faf writes. Watson swears that he never heard “we must win this game” in the CSK dressing room.
DHONI DID IT FOR INDIA TOO
During his long stint as the India captain, Dhoni had a similar philosophy. Stick to the processes, take the game deep, and more often than not, the results will go your way. He’s won everything that is to be won in international cricket (ICC T20I World Cup, ICC 50-over World Cup, ICC Champions Trophy and number one Test ranking) is a testament to his belief in the process.