Kolkata: Former Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not a believer in having separate captains across formats. Instead he feels that, there should be only, “one leader” in a team.
Dhoni, was in the news recently after he made an announcement that he was stepping down from the captaincy of the limited overs’ sides, just before the ODI series against England which, left the entire cricketing fraternity shell-shocked. The former skipper said that he doesn’t have faith in the system of having different captains for different formats.
In his first confrontation with the press after decided to call it quits on his captaicy career, Dhoni said, “I don’t believe in split captaincy. For the team there has to be only one leader…Split captaincy doesn’t work in India, I was waiting for the right time. I wanted Virat to ease into the job. There is no wrong decision in it. This team has potential to do well in all three formats. I felt it was right time to move on,”
He sounded pretty confident when he further added, “Virat and this team will win more games than me. I feel it will be the most successful team ever. That’s the kind of experience and potential they have. They have played in knockout tournaments, they have played under pressure. I firmly believe that this will be the team that will rewrite history. They will do very well.”
Looking back at the different episodes that led him to give up the captain’s hat, Dhoni said that he had he had notified the BCCI of his decision in advance and that this decision was something that has been in his mind ever since the time he retired from the game’s longest format towards the end of 2014.
“I believe that one player leading the team is crucial. It was on my mind when Virat took over the Test captaincy. I wanted him to take over and ease into the job. I wanted to be around for some game and now I finally decided that it was time to move on and give Virat captaincy (of limited-overs teams as well),” he said.
When he was asked as to what his new role will be in the side, especially after the fact that he’ll no longer be the captain, he said that he would continue to provide Kohli with his suggestions and opinions to Kohli.
He said, “Wicketkeeper is always the vice-captain of the side. I will have to keep a close eye on what the skipper wants. I already had a chat with Virat on where he wants his fields. I will have to be aware.
“I will be there to give as many suggestions to him as and when he wants. I will have to keep a close eye to read the field positioning,” he said.
The wicket-keeper batsman under whose leadership India won all the major ICC trophies and had also attained the pinnacle of Test success, when they became the No.1 ranked side in 2009 said that he cherished his time as the skipper of the Indian team despite the many successes and failures he experienced during that time.
He said, “I don’t regret anything in life. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Plenty of good things happened, difficult to pick one. It’s been a journey for me, the ups and downs. When I started, lot of senior player were in the side. I tried to groom the youngsters. Once the seniors left us, from that point till now, the juniors have done well. They have taken the legacy of Indian cricket forward.”
He also said, “It was a journey I really enjoyed and it brings a smile on my face when I think of it. Whether it’s tough or easy, I have enjoyed the overall journey.”
When asked on his relationship with the new skipper of the and India’s premier batsman Virat Kohli, Dhoni said that they both had a good amount of respect for each other.
“We have been very close. Virat was always somebody who wanted to improve in whatever chances he got, always wanted to give more. That was the key factor. We have interacted a lot. He has improvised his cricket and his thinking. He will keep getting better. My job will be to assist him wherever needed, giving him my thoughts from behind the stumps. That’s the real asset of the wicketkeeper,” he assessed.
“From my side, it will be a flow of information. Information that doesn’t confuse and then he can pick and choose. The good thing is that if I go up with 100 ideas to him, he can say no to all of them. That is important because he has to take the responsibility. So the more I can serve to him, the more he can pick and choose, and the better it will be for Indian cricket,” MSD felt.
One of of the debates that ran through the former skipper’s career was regarding his batting position in the team. Some believed that he should bat higher up the order but Dhoni as a leader always gave the youngsters the opportunity to go and bat before him before he came out to finish off the innings. Now, after he has been relieved of his captaincy, it would be worth watching as to which position he chooses for himself in the batting line-up.
He said, “Since I was the captain, I wanted to take added responsibility of playing lower down the order. I would have preferred batting at four but then if somebody is more comfortable at four, that gives our team more power. At the end of the day team is more important than individual.
“Whatever the demands of the team, I am ready to bat there.”
On asked as to what role a leader has to play in a team, said, “The main job of the captain is to ensure that potential of the players is achieved. You have to be practical, you have to be honest. You should know how to handle individuals. You have to figure out what really works. You have to be clever enough to evaluate. The leader’s job is to get the best out of the team,”
The reserved person he his, Dhoni also reflected on his relation with the media.
He said, “I always believed that there are too many press conferences. We don’t need press conference everyday. I always felt, there is too much exposure. I thought it’s a waste of time to have pre-match press conferences by captains. I always felt, post match is when captain can express himself, pre-match I think is a waste of time.”
Let’s hope MS Dhoni gets his mojo back as a slambang hitter of the cricket ball and we get to see the Dhoni of the bygone days.
(With inputs from PTI)