Mumbai: Indian limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday side-stepped the intense speculation on his future as captain of the side by saying that it is for the BCCI to take a call on the matter.
“It’s not that I don’t enjoy the game, this decision will be taken by the BCCI, it’s not up to me to decide on that,” said Dhoni in the press conference before the team’s departure for a limited-overs series against Zimbabwe starting June 11.
Dhoni was responding to former Team Director Ravi Shastri’s recent comment backing Test captain Virat Kohli to lead the country in all formats of the game. Shastri had said that Dhoni should be allowed to enjoy the game free of captaincy.
Dhoni has retired from Test cricket but is continuing to play ODIs and T20 Internationals.
Guarded on queries regarding his own future, Dhoni answered quite elaborately when asked about the kind of person he would like to see as India’s next coach.
Dhoni said the new coach should have a good understanding of the culture here even if he is not too fluent in Hindi, a criteria listed by the BCCI in its advertisement for applicants.
“Communication is not a big problem. We have seen English is not a big barrier with new players. I feel talking in Hindi can be a criterion, but should not be the only criteria. The best man should be selected,” said Dhoni.
“We keep playing a lot. We have to see the best option and one of the most important thing is whoever understands our culture and upbringing, more than English or Hindi. We have seen whoever we consider as best in the past has understood our culture,” he said.
Dhoni said motivating himself to play for the country, which will be engaged in Test cricket for most of this year, has never been a problem and the most important factor was fitness.
“It’s more than what we have achieved in your career, the fact that you are representing your country – it’s a brief period when you can represent the country – and that’s the biggest motivation for me and to achieve that I have to keep myself fit,” Dhoni said.
“I am 35 right now and the day I am not able to run as fast as I am running now I know (time is up). I have to keep myself more fit. Fitness is very important (but) I am not a fast bowler and the kind of demand for my body is different.
“For a fast bowler the demand keeps changing (number of overs per day). For a wicket keeper it’s set. The maximum you can keep is 90 overs in a day. At this point of time my only concern is fitness and so far it’s been good,” he added.
Dhoni said at present it’s better to see the Zimbabwe tour as a fore-runner for next year’s Champions Trophy and not the 2019 World Cup in England.
“I think it’s (2019 World Cup) too early, because I think a lot of changes keep happening. With the amount of cricket we play, the kind of schedule we have at the international level, I think right now thinking about 2019 will be looking too much ahead into the future.
“Yes, next year’s Champions Trophy is something that is closer. And the fact that we won’t be playing a lot of ODI cricket (in the near future). After this we play against New Zealand, and, may be, we will be playing 7-8 games. Other than that we play mostly Tests this season. So I feel every game is crucial and we will try to see what is best for the squad.