Mahendra Singh Dhoni addressed the media in Pune, highlighting the reasons why he left captaincy, how he worked through the good and bad periods and also made some telling points about how Virat Kohli has developed as a cricketer and how with more responsibility, he will continue to get better. Dhoni was at his relaxed best, highlighting how he went up and down the batting order as per the requirements as well as how he has relinquished his batting slot to allow someone who is better equipped to play there.
Dhoni also paid tributes to Kohli and the team, in stating that the side would be one of the most successful teams India ever had.
"Virat and this team will win more games than me. I feel it will be the most successful team ever. That's the kind of experience and potential they have. They have played in knockout tournaments, they have played under pressure. I firmly believe that this will be the team that will rewrite history. They will do very well."
Speaking about captaincy, Dhoni said he had decided to call it quits as captain after the last South Africa series in India.
"My last series was the South Africa series in India, after which I told BCCI I won't captain India any more. I believe one player should lead in all three formats.
"I don't believe in split captaincy. For the team there has to be only one leader...split captaincy doesn't work in India, I was waiting for the right time. I wanted Virat to ease into the job. There is no wrong decision in it. This team has potential to do well in all three formats. I felt it was right time to move on."
"I believe that one player leading the team is crucial. It was on my mind when Virat took over the Test captaincy. I wanted him to take over and ease into the job. I wanted to be around for some game and now I finally decided that it was time to move on and give Virat captaincy (of limited overs teams as well)," Dhoni added.
Asked how quitting captaincy would impact his role in the side, Dhoni said he would continue to give his suggestions and opinions to Kohli.
"The wicketkeeper is always the vice-captain of the side. I will have to keep a close eye on what the skipper wants. I already had a chat with Virat on where he wants his fields. I will have to be aware," he said.
"I will be there to give as many suggestions to him as and when he wants. I will have to keep a close eye to read the field positioning," he added.
Quizzed on the dynamics of his equation with Kohli, Dhoni said it has always been a relationship of mutual respect. "We have been very close. Virat was always somebody who wanted to improve in whatever chances he got, always wanted to give more. That was the key factor. We have interacted a lot.
"He has improvised his cricket and his thinking. He will keep getting better. My job will be to assist him wherever needed, giving him my thoughts from behind the stumps. That's the real asset of the wicketkeeper," Dhoni said.
"From my side, it will be a flow of information. Information that doesn't confuse and then he can pick and choose. The good thing is that if I go up with 100 ideas to him, he can say no to all of them. That is important because he has to take the responsibility. So the more I can serve to him, the more he can pick and choose, and the better it will be for Indian cricket," he explained.
He said he had no regrets as skipper and how the juniors in the team carried it forward.
"I don't regret anything in life. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Plenty of good things happened, difficult to pick one. It's been a journey for me, the ups and downs.
When I started, lot of senior players were in the side. I tried to groom the youngsters. Once the seniors left us, from that point till now, the juniors have done well. They have taken the legacy of Indian cricket forward."
"It's a journey I really enjoyed," he added.
Asked if he would consider a change in batting position, Dhoni said, "Since I was the captain, I wanted to take added responsibility of playing lower down the order. I would have preferred batting at four but then if somebody is more comfortable at four, that gives our team more power. At the end of the day team is more important than individual.
"Whatever the demands of the team, I am ready to bat there."
Dhoni also spoke about what he thought was the role of the leader in a team.
"The main job of the captain is to ensure that potential of the players is achieved. You have to be practical, you have to be honest. You should know how to handle individuals. You have to figure out what really works. You have to be clever enough to evaluate. The leader's job is to get the best out of the team," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)