BCCI tried and failed to change Mahendra Singh Dhoni's mind
BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel reveals he urged the former Indian skipper MS Dhoni to retire after fourth and final Test of the Border-Gavaskar trophy against Australia in Sydney
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) secretary Sanjay Patel urged Mahendra Singh Dhoni to continue as skipper for the fourth and final Test at Sydney from January 6-10, but the celebrated ’keeper-cum-captain was firm in his decision.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Inset: BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel.
Yesterday, Dhoni decided to retire from Test cricket with immediate effect after the third Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground ended in a draw.
“When MS conveyed his decision to me, I requested him, ‘why don’t you continue for the final Test and then call it a day.’ But he said ‘it will not make any difference. I was going to retire from Test cricket in six months time at the most. Then, why not do it now’. He felt the team was in good condition and gelling well. We respect his decision,” Patel told mid-day yesterday. However, Patel said that thoughts of Test retirement may have been on Dhoni’s mind before leaving for Australia. “That might have been on his mind, but he never told me anything. Everything happened today after the Test match was over,” he said.
How things unfolded...
Dhoni, known to spring up surprises, called up Patel to convey his decision after the third Test. Dhoni then informed his teammates about his decision to quit Tests, before asking the BCCI secretary to make a formal announcement.
The BCCI press release stated that Dhoni cited the strain of playing all formats of cricket. Patel added: “Dhoni wanted to be fit for all the formats (Tests, ODIs and T20s). He wanted to focus 100 per cent on the other two formats. Test cricket is not just five days. We have to also take into account the previous two days of vigorous training,”
The Board secretary rubbished reports in the electronic media that Dhoni decided to quit because he was a liability in the team. “It’s nonsense. You think he would have been in the team if he was a liability?
“Even during the finger injury (which prevented Dhoni from participating in the first Test against Australia), I was in constant touch with him and he wanted to take the field only if he was 100 per cent fit. “He is a man of integrity. He did not want any farewell (Test) or a 50,000-crowd reception. He said he is only retiring from one format. Only a lion can take such a decision,” Patel said.
‘No pressure at all’
Dhoni’s overseas captaincy woes continued as he managed only one win and draw (yesterday) a Test since 2011 tour of England. However, Patel said there was no pressure on Dhoni to quit. “We (BCCI) did not put any pressure on his captaincy. In fact, pressure and Dhoni don’t go hand-in-hand,” Patel signed off.