Mahendra Singh Dhoni Mum on Retirement Plans, Praises Young Pranav Dhanawade For World Record Knock
Mahendra Singh Dhoni refused to divulge his future plans and said his focus was on the Australia tour and the upcoming World Twenty20. The Indian ODI skipper also praised Pranav Dhanawade, who scored a magnificent unbeaten 1009 to enter the history books.
India's limited-overs captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to keep his cards close to his chest on his retirement and decided to focus on the Australian series as well as the ICC World Twenty20 which will take place in March-April. (Chance for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Team India to Turn Around Woeful One-Day International Record in Australia)
Dhoni has come under fire off late, following a string of poor performances by India. Many critics are calling for his retirement and have suggested that Test captain Virat Kohli be given the reigns in limited overs as well. (Virat Kohli Leaves Mahendra Singh Dhoni Behind in Latest IPL Salary List)
"I have always believed in the present. No answers on future. For now, it's the Australia tour," Dhoni said in a press conference before the Indian team departed for their tour Down Under. (Quitting Tests May Hurt Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Future as Team India Captain: Kapil Dev)
"I have not thought beyond the World Twenty20. All energy and resources need to go in one direction, these will be an important three and half months for us."
India's recent ODI fortunes have taken a dip. Having lost their first bilateral series to Bangladesh and their first home series to South Africa in recent times, the onus is on Dhoni to turn it around things in Australia.
India embark on their second tour to Australia in less than a year. In their previous tour in 2014/15, they spent five months in the country where they played four Tests, a tri-series involving England and also the World Cup where they were knocked out by Australia in the semi-final. (Mahendra Singh Dhoni Has Lot of Cricket Left in Him: Sourav Ganguly)
"There are plenty of inclusions in the team who have performed well. They will get a chance to play in Australia since its long a series. We will play three Twenty20 internationals ahead of the World Cup. Conditions might be different but we will have ample opportunity to try different options and combinations," said Dhoni.
In addition to the three Twenty20s, India will play five one-day internationals on the tour and with the Australian team in a transitional phase this will be the best chance for Dhoni and his men to overcome their dismal record in Australia.
In 43 matches played against Australia since 1980, India have managed only 10 wins at a win-loss ratio of 0.322, which is their second-worst win-loss ratio in ODIs.
In their last 10 games, they have lost six and won three with one game washed out in Sydney.
Meanwhile, Dhoni spoke of how retirement from Test cricket had given him time to recuperate and be in the groove for the ODIs.
"Now that I don't play Test cricket, I have more time to switch on and off. The break gives me time to be off cricket and get back in groove."
Dhoni was also all praise for Mumbai school cricketer Pranav Dhanawade, son of an auto-rickshaw driver, who hit 1009 not out off 323 balls with 129 fours and 59 sixes to etch his name into the record books.
"It's not a joke to score so many runs. It's serious business in any conditions and ground keeping in mind the age. It's tremendous, its important to improve. He must be a very special kid. I would have got bored, he's calculating his batting. It is something that is very rare," said Dhoni.
The youngster surpassed former England batsman Arthur Collins' score of 628 not out in 1899. Representing KC Gandhi School, Kalyan, Pranav's 1000 runs came off 317 balls. He eventually finished on 1009 not out during the H.T. Bhandari Cup inter-school cricket tournament organised by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA).