India's cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni tickled the media with hints of quitting the captaincy if he has to figure in the 2015 World Cup to be hosted by Australia and New Zealand. This may come as a shock and blow for die-hard lovers of Indian cricket. But the larger picture must be looked at.
Dhoni may have not set the Yarra river on fire with his captaincy in the ongoing Test series against Australia, but he is as practical as they come. He realises that he may not be able to maintain that level of physical and probably more importantly, the mental fitness to lead in all formats of the game.
Like normal players, captains too have a use-by date. His disastrous Test tours of England (0-4) and Australia (0-2 so far) notwithstanding, Dhoni has done a commendable job by leading India in all three formats of the game. In addition to international duties, he has to play leader in the Indian Premier League and Champions League for Chennai Super Kings. His strain and workload cannot be underestimated.
What is refreshing to hear is a captain coming out and saying that he may not be around instead of hanging on to his post and exposing himself to the selectorial axe. When MiD DAY columnist Ian Chappell was appointed captain of Australia in 1971 after the sacking of Bill Lawry, the first thing Chappell told his wife on reaching home was, "they'll (the selectors) never get me the way they got Bill."
He ended up as one of Australia's most successful captains. He never lost a Test series in his four-year stint and gave up the captaincy after retaining the 1975 Ashes. And the selectors never got a chance to even think of raising their axe. That's one good way to go and Dhoni knows it!