Mahendra Singh Dhoni, exasperated by the never-ending speculation around his retirement, on Sunday said being questioned about it at every platform will not change his plan to continue playing for a ‘considerable period’ of time.
“If I say something one month or 15 days back, the answer does not change. It’s irrespective of where I’m asking. The answer remains the same. It’s as simple as what is your name and I will say MS Dhoni. It will remain the same for a considerable period of time unless you give me a new format,” Dhoni told reporters here ahead of the team’s departure for the Asia Cup Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
Dhoni, on Friday, made it clear that he was not retiring from international cricket anytime soon. The 34-year-old Dhoni had called time on his Test career in the middle of the away series against Australia in December 2014.
“There will be questions, you send me letters or requisitions. If you have the freedom, it’s not right to ask all types of questions. It’s very important to judge everything as to what needs to be done, why it needs to be done. Because somebody has the platform to ask questions, it does not mean that you keep on asking the same questions. It’s a world today where everything is covered by media,” an irritated Dhoni said on the oft-repeated query of his retirement.
He added, “Anything happens questions are raised in India. If we win the World T20 very comfortably, then questions will be asked whether we have peaked too early. If we lose the final, then we will be asked whether we will be able to take the pressure of a final.
“If we don’t qualify then there will be questions whether we’re good enough to handle pressure at home. I don’t think I cannot really stop people from asking the questions. If better questions are raised, I will answer 100 per cent for sure,” Dhoni said.
‘Happy about Team India’s form’
Having won the inaugural World Twenty20 nine years back, the Indian skipper will once again look to reclaim the trophy and the build-up will begin in Bangladesh.
Team India has already got into the groove with T20 series wins over Australia (3-0) and Sri Lanka (2-1) and Dhoni expressed satisfaction with the the preparation and said they’ve the right ingredients to do well in the Asia Cup.
“The good thing is we played three games in Australia, yes the conditions were very different in Australia, then we played in Sri Lanka. It gave us the time to settle into the format. You’ve to take the price tag away from the wicket. It’s always easier to switch from T20 to Test format than from Test to T20. It’s good for us that we are getting these number of games. We can try a few things. It’s the same format.”
‘Good time for preparation’
Speaking about preparations, Dhoni further said, “Often you don’t get too many games before the World T20 so it’s good to have some games to get into the groove.”
The Indian skipper said they would look to give everyone a chance in the Asia Cup so as to get their balance right.
“We will try to give everybody a game. It’s something that is as important as to play as a settled team. It’s important to give everyone a game under their belt but we will look to win the games and that’s our top priority.
“I feel the conditions will allow us to give others opportunity. From the team’s perspective, it’s important to make sure you keep repeating your performances and do well for the team and enjoy the team,” he said.
‘Team has all ingredient to win big tournament’
India launch their Asia Cup campaign against Bangladesh on February 24. “I’ve the belief and talent required to win a big tournament. This team has all the ingredients. It’s important to keep everyone fit. If everybody gets a chance to play it will be very good for us. Ultimately you have to go and do well on the field that’s what it is all about. In this format you have to keep the big hitters away.”
On his captaincy, Dhoni said: “I’m 100 per cent the same. There’s no changes in views and tactics. It’s definitely the same.”
But he added he does not believe in any ‘champions luck’. “Definitely luck is a big factor. It may be the toss. You may have a game with dew and you lose the toss or in a rain-affected game. All these things come into play. I don’t think there’s a champions luck as such. Luck involves the moment you flip the coin.”
‘No change in batting order’
Asked whether he wants to bat higher up the order, Dhoni said: “In a normal scenario, I don’t see myself batting higher up the order because of the batting order we have. Of course if we have a partnership where everyone is doing well till 18th or 19th over than I can promote myself. Other than that, in a normal scenario I don’t see myself giving that promotion.
“Virat at 3 then Raina, Yuvraj, I’m 6 then Jadeja and Hardik but we will try if there’s a good partnership in the middle.”
‘Shami not yet out from World Twenty20’
Indian pacer Mohammad Shami, who was ruled out of the Asia Cup remains a doubtful starter for the World Twenty20, but Dhoni said he’s been kept in the side keeping his ability in mind.
“You have to keep in mind that you announce the XV one month in advance unlike in a bilateral series. He has been one bowler who has bowled well both with the new ball and at the death also. At least if he’s fit the attack looks even better. That’s the reason he’s in the side. But in any case you have a replacement option.”
Dhoni heaped praise on his Chennai Super Kings teammate Brendon McCullum, who smashed his way into the history books with the fastest Test hundred.
“I have not seen his knock but I think I’ve seen enough of his knocks. He’s a fantastic cricketer. He’s played a lot of Tests and ODIs. Right from the very first ball he entertains. Hope he does well, really well after Test cricket. I was fortunate to share the dressing room with him.”