MUMBAI: Even as he appeared slightly reluctant to talk about cricket, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was bold enough to take a few expected ‘bouncers’ hurled at him at the launch of Run Adam – an app to help budding athletes in which he’s bought 25% stake.
The most obvious query had to be about the reason why he asked the umpires for the ball after India lost the third ODI to England by eight wickets at Leeds last month. Dhoni’s gesture had set off speculation that the veteran wicketkeeper was calling it a day from international cricket – he retired from Test cricket in December 2014. That rumour, however, died down when India’s chief coach Ravi Shastri told TOI that there was nothing more to it than the fact that the 37-year-old wanted him to see the condition of the ball.
On Tuesday, Dhoni corroborated the story. “You’ve to keep working on what’s happening. That (asking the umpire for the ball) was to see why we weren’t getting enough reverse swing because we will be playing the World Cup in England and what’s it that we have to do to get reverse swing going. That’s very important. The opposition was getting it, and we should also have got it at some point or the other,” Dhoni said, before explaining his point further.
“I requested to the umpire if I could get the ball, and I gave it to the bowling coach, and told him how we can get if scuffed up so that we could get a bit of reverse swing from it. That will help the fast bowlers bowl yorkers from the 40th over and that would help us restrict the opposition from getting too many runs in the last 10 overs,” Dhoni said, thus quashing rumours of his retirement for good.
The former India skipper was all praise for his successor Virat Kohli, who once again slammed a brilliant century and fifty against England at Edgbaston in the first Test, which the visitors lost by 31 runs. “Virat is the best and he’s already reached a status where he is close to a legend stage. I am happy for him and the way he has batted. He has been brilliant in the last few years. He has taken the team forward and that’s what you want from a leader. I wish all the best to him,” complimented Dhoni.
Asked why he thought India were beaten in the first Test of the on-going series, the experienced gloveman came up with a cryptic reply: “To win a Test match you need wickets and that’s the only answer. It doesn’t matter how well you bat or how well you play for five days. If you are taking 20 wickets, you can win a Test match.” Now, decode that the way you will!
As questions moved beyond cricket, Dhoni’s smile became broader, as he backed Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore‘s statement on Monday that in order to promote sports in India, the syllabus in the schools will be reduced by 50% next year.
“It will be interesting to see what the parents think about reducing the syllabus because education is very important. But sport does teach you a lot in life. A school is the right place to push the youngsters to play more sport. When I was in class sixth or seventh, I had no clue whether I will become a cricketer or a footballer, or an athlete. In between, there was a phase when parents were not keen on pushing kids to sport, and the focus was on studies. 90% marks was considered very good, but now, 90% is just another number. Had I even studied for 24 hours a day, 90% is not something I would have got at any point of time. I was good at sports, and that’s something really helped. Schooldays are a very important part of life and teach you a lot of things,” he felt.
“Be it mentally or physically, sport teaches a lot to the students and that actually helps in practical life. Sports should play a big role in students’ life and everyone should be pushed to it,” he concluded.
Source : timesofindia