Ranchi: When Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni led Team India to the memorable World Cup victory in April, nobody knew he would put himself to test to pick between Test cricket and ODI so soon.
Barely ten months after that famous win, Dhoni on Thursday hinted that he might retire from Test by 2013 if he was to play in the 2015 cricket World Cup.
"I am surprised on Dhoni's sudden statement on retirement when senior players are still around. He must have said keeping something in his mind. But such ups and downs do happen in cricket," former international wicketkeeper Pradip Khanna said.
"Let seniors think of retirement gracefully. Who is there to replace Dhoni as Test captain in the current team?" Khanna said expressing disappointment over poor performance by senior batsmen in the ongoing Test series against Australia. Former Bihar Ranji captain Adil Hussain, under whom Dhoni played, said, "Cricket lovers have seen how Bob Simson had retired before coming back as captain to lead Australia against Bishen Singh Bedi-led team. He was 42 at that time".
"Captaining one form of cricket or the other round the year may have taken a toll on him. So he may be thinking to focus on one particular format as Sachin Tendulkar avoiding T20s and Dravid and Laxman focusing on Tests only. But such thoughts should not flash in his mind," Hussain said.
Opining that the timing of Dhoni's disclosure was not 'right', Hussain said Dhoni's statement on retirement from Test matches must have come because of captaining round the year in T20, ODIs, Test and Chennai Super Kings.
Dhoni's former coach Chanchal Bhattacharya, however, backed his pupil's statement saying, "Dhoni has always thought for his team's success. This statement also must have impregnated with the message that he wants to give his best on one format to the country...Bob Simson did not have to think of three versions of cricket then".
Current Jharkhand Ranji team coach Satish Singh said it was a personal matter of Dhoni, though he can play in all forms for another five-six years.
"He is a great player and can take a decision at the right time. But in what context Dhoni said has to be looked into, particularly in the midst of a series," Singh, who played alongside Dhoni in Ranji cricket in 2001-02, said. Former East Zone wicketkeeper Ashok Ghosh felt somebody must have 'prompted' Dhoni into replying such statement in the media conference.
"A bad phase happens to every cricketer and every captain. Sometimes you perform and sometimes, you can't. And in Australia our front line batsmen have not come up with big scores. Dhoni is a talented player who has brought the World Cup for us," Ghosh said.
Another former Ranji player Kajol Das said, "Dhoni must have said it out of frustration under intense media pressure. (Moreover) he did not face such a situation where 4/5 players of the team have not clicked".
"Dhoni is known for his cool head, and should maintain that. We know he has always led the team from the front, and captaincy pressure should not bother him," he said. Former first class cricket player Anwar Mushtafa, said "Indians have played so much cricket in the last two years that they are tired".
"Anyway Dhoni has not said he would retire in 2013. He just said he would have a look where he stands in 2013 and whether he could leave one format," Mushtafa said adding had Harbhajan Singh been to Australia things would have been different.