Sunday, June 16, 2024

Dhoni avoids probing questions on his captaincy


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Pune: Under-fire Indian skipper MS Dhoni refused, on Wednesday, to be drawn into a debate over the split-captaincy theory as suggested by former greats after his team’s humiliating 1-2 Test series defeat against England.

“Your question on my view about split captaincy is good but let’s stick to T20 format as we have a T20 game tomorrow,” was Dhoni’s curt reply when a local reporter asked him about the topic.

That Dhoni was trying to sidestep the issue became evident when he gave the same answer in a roundabout manner to a British journalist.

“Before the start of an important series, I don’t want to comment on that. Because when it comes to Indian cricket, if it’s not going the right way, questions pop up about captaincy, senior players, junior players, the kind of talent we have got, the bench strength we have got. Everything will pop up and if you keep answering, I think we will be short of time,” was the Indian captain’s reply to his query.

He repeatedly evaded tough questions on India’s failure in the Test series.

“No point looking too much into the past. That I have always said, whether you do well or do badly, it is important to stick to the present and the coming format is very different. Let’s stick to it.”

“It’s a completely different format, so I don’t think there’s any point carrying anything from the Test series. It’s a very different format altogether,” the Indian skipper said, presenting a dead bat to anything and everything asked about the Tests.

Dhoni saw some positives to emerge from the Test loss to England.

“It was disappointing that we did not win the series and also after a long period at home.

“But in the last Test match (at Nagpur) we did pretty well. The wicket was quite flat. Still there were plenty of positives (from the series).

“Youngsters like Cheteshwar Pujara, who I think is the future for us along with Virat Kohli, did well. You saw the bowlers did well, especially the spinners, when there was not much assistance from the wicket.”

Dhoni said there have been no indications from senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar after the drawn game at Nagpur about his future.

“No, nothing at all,” he said to the English scribe.

Dhoni said that although it was demanding to switch over so quicly from the longest to the shortest format of the game, as professionals they will have to make the shift.

“It’s demanding to switch formats as Test cricket is totally different from T20 matches, but as international cricketers we are supposed to stand up to the demands of the game. Maybe one more practice session would have helped but this (on Wednesday) is the only one we have. So we have to make the most out of it.”

The dew factor may come in, said Dhoni, which may negate the effectiveness of the spinners as the ball tends to skid and not grip the dew-laded surface.

“England are a balanced side irrespective of the format. It (conditions) may be slightly different this time of the year with a bit of dew which may mean the spinners may not be that effective, but these are all speculations.”

On the venue he said, “The stadium is fantastic with excellent facilities. A fair amount of cricket has been going on and the wicket must have settled down.

“It will be a good track for the batsmen to score runs. Not a big outfield (boundaries) and the big shots will come into contention.”

“The last time we played in IPL, there was variable bounce. If the wicket has settled, that shouldn’t be the case,” he remarked.

Dhoni said the fact that India have won both their T20 games against the visitors in World Twenty20 Championships and lost the other three bilateral games did not point out to any specific pattern.

“We have won a few games and lost a few. In this format, it’s just about a couple of players really changing the game. It’s about enjoying the game, just getting that one run or making that one run-out which changes the game. I don’t think it’s proper to analyse the patterns in this format,” he said.

He was also not bothered by the fact that India can go to the top of the ICC T20 rankings for the first time since it was introduced in 2011 if they win both their T20 games against England, here and in Mumbai on December 22, and the upcoming two games against Pakistan later this month.

“We are never bothered about the rankings. If we do well on the field the rankings take care of themselves. It’s like I am repeating myself but that’s what I have always said.”

Asked about Kevin Pietersen in particular and the demand for his services in the cash rich IPL, Dhoni said not everyone can be like him.

“KP is a special player. Franchisees are willing to take a gamble even if he’s available for [only] seven or eight games in a season. You have to be that special,” said the India and CSK captain. (PTI)


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