Sydney: Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is ready to give up Test captaincy if there is a “better man” to replace him.
Calls for his removal as leader in the longest format have grown following India’s pathetic show in Tests in England and Australia, where he captained seven of the team’s eight consecutive defeats.
Dhoni, speaking ahead of India’s first T20 International against Australia here Wednesday, said captaincy is a position that doesn’t belong to anyone and should be assigned to someone who is most suited to lead the team at that time.
“It is an added role and responsibility for me. It is not a position that belongs to anyone. The responsibility was given to me three-and-a-half years back. I have been trying to do well, get along with the team, perform well wherever we play,” Dhoni told reporters at the ANZ Stadium here Tuesday.
Dhoni added: “It is just a position I hold. It is something I will always look to do well till I am in the job. It is not something I want to stick on to. If there is a better replacement, he can come in. It is a very open thing. At the end of the day, you want India to perform. If there is someone who can do a better job, then it is a place that should be given to him. It is not something you have to cling on to.”
During the Test series, Dhoni had said that he might retire from one of the formats to remain fit for the 2015 World Cup.
Taking on from there, the 30-year-old said that he will have to give up either of the three formats by the end of 2013 considering the packed cricketing calendar.
“Maybe by 2013 I will have to,” Dhoni said.
“It is two years away, and the kind of cricket we are playing – IPL, 45 days; Champions League; and back-to-back series. We have to see where we last. It is not a calendar year where you get a lot of rest, and you get away with small niggles during that rest period.”
Dhoni then clarified on comments he made earlier on the tour.
“I said end of 2013 (on his retirement plans). Now it is the start of 2012, and 2013 is two years. I don’t know whether I will be alive in two years. That is a long time. What I said was, by the end of 2013, I will have to see whether I can play the World Cup. It wasn’t about one format, it was about cricket. I can’t play till 2014 and say I am not fit enough to survive till the next World Cup. And you will have a player coming in who has played just 25 games.”