Mahendra Singh Dhoni, in his first press conference after giving up the captain’s role in limited-overs cricket, backed the current Indian team to rewrite history, reported the Indian Express. Dhoni said that he took the decision to step down as skipper to allow Virat Kohli to ease into the role, adding that the dual captaincy option doesn’t work in India.
Dhoni said that the Indian team under Kohli “will win more games” than it did under his own stewardship. “I feel it will be the most successful Indian cricket team ever,” he added. “This team has the potential and then the experience to win in all formats. They are all young but they have played a lot of matches in different conditions. They’ve played under pressure, and [on] different pitches. We have got pacers who can bowl in any conditions. Even if one is injured there is always someone capable of replacing him.”
Dhoni was all praise for Kohli in the presser. “We have been very close right from the start,” he said. “Virat was always somebody who wanted to improve whatever chances he got. He wanted to do well in those games and I think that’s the reason he is so successful right now.”
Kohli’s first assignment in charge as India’s limited-overs captain is the one-day and T20 series against England beginning January 15. Dhoni said he would continue to help Kohli with his inputs from behind the stumps. “ODI [cricket] is a slightly easier format than Tests for the captain. My job is to give him [Kohli] my thoughts from behind the stumps. From my side, it will be a flow of information as much as possible. Same to other bowlers too, so as not to confuse them with too many ideas. If I go out with 100 ideas to him, he is open to saying no to all of them because at the end of the day, he has to be making the tough choices.”
Asked what made him give up captaincy, Dhoni said he had been thinking about it ever since South Africa’s tour of India last year. “I’m somebody who believes that in our scenario, split captaincy is something that doesn’t really work and it’s something that I always believed. One captain leading the team in all formats is very crucial,” he said.
Asked to reflect a bit more on his journey as captain and whether he had any regrets, Dhoni said, “I don’t regreat anything in life. What has happened has happened. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”