It is sad to see MS Dhoni become a victim of the 'have too much to lose to risk a win' syndrome. The funny thing about life is that as one achieves more success, the ability to take 'risks' falls in almost the same proportion. It is only the iconic creators who are able to continuously keep the risk cycle going and experiment with new things. And at the end of the day, those risk-takers are the people who challenge history. For others, the fact that now they have something to 'lose' becomes more important than what they have to 'gain' if they take that risk.
What I loved about Dhoni was the fact that he represented the hunger that needs to exist in the Indian cities (beyond the six large ones) if we are to dominate the better part of this century. He had nothing to lose and so made his own rules (his unconventional batting is ample proof of that) and took risks (like getting Joginder Sharma to bowl the last over of the T20 final or getting Ashwin to bowl within the first six overs in the IPL) which came off more often than not. This rubbed off on the Indian team and we saw a dramatic rise during 2007-2010, reaching its pinnacle in the 50 over World Cup win.
After that win 'fear' has become more pronounced in his leadership. It is as if post reaching the summit, he is almost afraid of 'falling' and, therefore, the first instinct is to try and stay here rather than think of climbing further.
The first proof came when India let the West Indies off the hook by giving up the chase in the last Test on the tour prior to the disastrous English 4-0 whitewash. More recent was Ashwin's extremely defensive tactic in the third and final Test during the last West Indies series in which India should have gone for the jugular to seal a 3-0 win. This continued in the field settings on the fourth morning of this Test which were more to stop runs rather than to take wickets. The 60 runs added in the morning's play changed the mood in both camps and things were always downhill from thereon for the Indian team.
Like sports, business also has no 'maintenance' mode. You can't play if you are afraid to lose. If you forget the key ingredient that made you successful in the first place was your ability to take risk as you climb the ladder of success, the 'slip' will be just about as fast as the climb.
Come on MSD, your inspiration is only yourselfâ Take the jumps of 'faith' as you used to earlier and life will once again spring positive surprises!