Dhoni offers to step down, former stars oppose move
Mirpur/New Delhi: Under attack for India’s shock defeat in the ODI series against Bangladesh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has offered to step down from captaincy but several former players expressed their opposition against such a move.
Hours after India’s series defeat, Dhoni had said at the post match press conference that he was willing to step down as captain and contribute as a player if it guaranteed success for Indian cricket.
“I am really enjoying my cricket… if it is justifiable if you remove me (as captain) and the Indian cricket will start doing well, and if I am the reason for all the bad that’s happening to Indian cricket, definitely I would love to step away and play as a player,” Dhoni said at the press conference in Mirpur.
“I am always the one who is responsible for anything bad that happens in Indian cricket. Everything that happens is because of me. Even the Bangladesh media is smiling,” he said.
But, several former Indian cricketers put their weight behind the beleaguered Dhoni and said that he should continue as captain of the ODI team.
Former Indian captains like Bishan Singh Bedi, Dilip Vengsarkar and Ajit Wadekar and players like Chetan Chauhan, Chandu Borde, Syed Kirmani and Kiran More strongly backed Dhoni, saying that there was no need to press the panic button and he is the best bet till the 2016 World T20.
“I don’t think Dhoni should be replaced. He recently led India to the WC semi-finals and this series is the first series after that. He should continue as captain,” Vengsarkar told PTI.
Bedi, known for his forthright views on Indian cricket, did not want to single out Dhoni for the team’s debacle in Bangladesh.
“I am not blaming an individual, rather it was a team lethargy that cost India the series. Regarding Dhoni’s captaincy issue, I can’t say much. Nothing is coming out clear at the moment. See what he spoke to the media was just out of sheer frustration. He was just being sarcastic,” he said.
“That’s part and parcel of being a leader. You are lauded when victorious and criticised in defeat. He has already left the Test captaincy. About ODIs, I don’t know. But it’s the first time I have seen him ruffled and that’s not a good sign anymore,” Bedi added.
Wadekar said that Dhoni was still the best person to lead India in the ODIs and T20s.
“I think he’s still the best bet for captaincy in ODIs and T20s. I suppose he should be retained as captain. It was amazing (the loss). They perhaps did not take Bangladesh seriously. They probably did not get enough time to prepare for ODI series,” said Wadekar.