Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s voice had the usual air of calm as he played down criticism and calls for his retirement from T20 Internationals, saying “everybody has their own views in life”. A few former India cricketers, including Ajit Agarkar, recently raised questions about Dhoni’s T20 future, creating quite a storm in the country’s cricketing circles.
Dhoni retired from Tests in 2014 during India’s tour of Australia, soon after which Virat Kohli became India’s captain in the format. He continued to captain India in ODIs and T20Is till January 2017, right before England’s tour of India. However sudden his decisions might be, he is respected for cricketing acumen and the way he has led India in all formats for years.
Even former batsman VVS Laxman seemed to be on the same page as Agarkar on Dhoni’s T20 career. However, the two-time World Cup winning captain, as is his wont, seemed unperturbed.
“Everybody has views in life and it should be respected,” Dhoni said when he was asked to comment on Agarkar’s remarks. Dhoni, who won the 2007 inaugural World T20 as captain with a young India team and the 2011 ODI World Cup, struggled to get going as India lost by 40 runs in the second T20I against New Zealand in Rajkot.
The 36-year-old, though, still finds enough motivation wearing the India colours. “The biggest motivation is being a part of the Indian cricket team. You have seen cricketers who are not god-gifted, but even then, they have gone far. That’s because of the passion. The coaches need to find that out. Everybody doesn’t play for the country.”
Dhoni was in the bustling metropolis to launch his global cricket academy, inaugurating the MS Dhoni Cricket Academy — his first international academy, in association with Dubai- based Pacific Ventures.
“I have always believed that process is more important than results. I never thought about results, I always thought what is the right thing to do at that point of time whether it’s 10 runs needed, 14 runs needed or 5 runs needed. “I was always so engrossed in the process that I never took the burden of thinking what if the results don’t go my way.”
Asked to talk about his trademark helicopter shot in front of the excited kids and their parents, Dhoni said that he would not want a youngster to try such shots due to the chance of getting injured.
“(It is) something I learnt while playing tennis ball cricket on the roads of India. It is difficult. In tennis ball cricket even it’s hit from the toe of the bat the ball still travels a lot but in normal cricket it has to be the middle part of the bat, so it requires a lot of work. I don’t want them to play helicopter shots because they could get injured.”
Dhoni retired from Test cricket during India’s tour of Australia in 2014/15 before stepping down as skipper of the limited overs side in 2016, allowing Virat Kohli to take on the mantle of Indian captaincy in all three formats of the game.