"But Yes, I Won't Be Growing My Hair Again": Dhoni
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is known for springing surprises The 35-year-old cricketer – after leading India for nine years – suddenly put down his papers. He announced his decision a few hours after Supreme Court sacked BCCI president Anurag Thakur, along with secretary Ajay Shirke.
However, before hunting the link between the two incidents that rocked Indian cricket, the sports fraternity needs to accept the fact that Captain Cool won’t marshal the troops in the current ODI series against England.
His coach, Chanchal Bhattacharya, believes his lad did the right thing by hanging up the skipper’s boots; it may increase his longevity as a cricketer. “He had told me recently that he would take the right decision at the right time. Even though Champions Trophy is round the corner, I don’t think he did anything wrong by calling it a day as a skipper,” said Bhattacharya, who sharpened Dhoni’s wicket-keeping skills since his school days.
“Now imagine if he was asked to leave by the selectors due to lack of form? What if he was asked to bat down the order? What if he didn’t contribute enough with the bat due to captaincy pressure? Now, he will play with a free mind,” he added.
“As a cricketer, a lot has changed in me and Indian cricket over the last few years. I changed my batting order according to the need of the team and even now, I will follow what I will be asked to do. But yes, I won’t be growing my hair again,” said Dhoni, before the start of the first ODI here on Sunday.
But it seemed quitting captaincy floated in Dhoni’s mind from a long time. “I told BCCI officially recently but I always believed that split captaincy doesn’t really work. When Kohli took over Test captaincy, I wanted him to have some time over there and then, take up the full captaincy role. It was always in my mind. Limited over-cricket isn’t much of a challenge but the wicket-keeper is always the vice-captain of the side, announced or not. The field setting responsibility usually lies with the stumper,” Dhoni asserted.
Bhattacharya pointed that there won’t be much of a change in the team. “The manner how Kohli has been leading the team in Tests, he will be successful in ODI and Twenty20 cricket too. It won’t make much of a difference in the ongoing series and future but Dhoni will not have any pressure of being answerable to people. He had that in his mind earlier. Now, he will start afresh, as a player," he said.
The veteran trainer is certain that Dhoni will be fit to play the next 50-over World Cup. “He should easily play for two or three years more unless there are injuries,” he added.
After the ODI business with England, Dhoni won’t be seen in action till Indian Premier League.