Known for his calm demeanour under pressure situations, former India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni continues to inspire many on and off the field.
With the new Hockey India League (HIL) set to start in a couple of weeks' time, the players of Ranchi Rays, which is co-owned by Dhoni himself, will aim to replicate his calmness when they take the field for the upcoming season.
India international Manpreet Singh says it is inspiring to be part of the Dhoni-owned team, and like Dhoni, the team's motto is to stay cool and calm.
"It is very inspiring for us to play for a team owned by one of India's most successful cricket captains MS Dhoni. The single most important motto of our team is to stay cool and calm just like MS Dhoni even during pressure situations and that has always worked for our team," he says.
Dhoni has stepped down from captaincy, his aura of leading the team from the front continues to inspire Ranchi Rays captain Ashley Jackson from England, says Manpreet.
"Ashley follows cricket very closely and many a times, he brings to the table what MS Dhoni would do with his cricket team. Ashley apart from keeping the team together as one unit, he always tells us that we need to have the winning spirit Dhoni has and never to let our spirit down even if we have conceded early goals," Manpreet says.
It also helps the team when Dhoni sends his wishes to Ranchi Rays via team coach Harendra Singh.
"Last time coach conveyed Dhoni's message to us where he not only wished us the best but reminded us that it's not always about winning but to make sure we give our 100 per cent and only then results will follow. He also said that we will always have his support and that's very encouraging," Manpreet added.
On days when Ranchi Rays is not playing hockey, they like to indulge in a game of cricket as this helps the team bond better and helps in relaxing their mind.
"We do a lot of fun activities when we are not playing hockey. Sometimes, during our camp, we end up playing cricket, try and imitate Dhoni's famous helicopter shot and whoever comes close to it gets a loud cheer from the entire team," says a candid Manpreet who is looking forward to joining the team's camp starting in Mumbai on 15 January.
Ranchi Rays play their first match on the inaugural day of Coal India HIL on 21 January against Dabang Mumbai at the Mahindra Hockey Stadium in Mumbai.
(With inputs from PTI)