Pune: Former New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming is someone who knows Mahendra Singh Dhoni quite well, considering the amount of time he has spent with the Indian captain at the Chennai Super Kings. And that is one reason why his opinion about Dhoni means a lot, when he says, "Dhoni would know when the time is right for him to quit."
Fleming, who will soon be joined by Dhoni as the duo try to get the Rising Pune Supergiants off to a good start at the IPL-9 in a week's time, was addressing the media following his arrival in the city ahead of the new IPL season. Following the drama at the press conference on Thursday, when Dhoni invited an Aussie journalist on the dias for asking about his retirement, Fleming was as simple and matter-of-factly, as one would expect while answering the same question. "The way he ran the twos against the Aussies and the West Indies, I think he is quite fit. Especially having quit Test cricket, he has got that right balance to his life. He has got a very young family. The kind of character he is, I am sure he will know when time is up for him. He is not someone who will stay on selfishly," Fleming summed up.
With India being knocked out of the World T20, focus of the home fans now shifts to IPL. And Fleming looks at it as a silver lining, in a cheeky way. "I know it's not for most of you guys, but for me it's a silver lining, that India is out of World T20, meaning they don't have to play one more game. It gives my players that extra time to recover. Especially with just a week's gap between World T20 and IPL. It's tough sometimes to get players back with refreshed minds.
"That's why we have asked players like Steve Smith, Faf du Plessis to go back home for a few days. That way they can come back with fresh minds, because with most of those guys, it's not physical fitness, which is a major issue," Fleming explained.
About 14 of the Pune team members (mostly the ones who were not involved in World T20) have already started their preparations, and the rest are expected to join them in Mumbai on April 5, where they will play the season-opener against Mumbai Indians.