Former India captain MS Dhoni has hung up his boots from his international career recently and former BCCI president N Srinivasan has revealed how he made sure that he was retained as the India captain in 2011-12.
It took place in India’s tour of Australia in 2011-12 when the then selection committee had decided to remove Dhoni from the captaincy after a 0-4 Test series loss. However, Dhoni was retained at the post.
“This was 2011. India had won the World Cup. And (then) in Australia, we didn’t do well in the Tests. So, one of the selectors wanted to remove him (Dhoni) as the ODI captain. The point is, how do you remove him as the ODI captain? He had won the World Cup (just a few months ago). They (selectors) had not even thought of who would be his replacement. There was a discussion and then (before the formal meeting) I said there was no way in which he would not be a player,” Srinivasan told The Indian Express.
“In fact, it was a holiday. I was playing golf. I came back. Sanjay Jagdale was the (BCCI) secretary at that time and he said, ‘Sir, they (selectors) are refusing to choose the captain. They will take him (Dhoni) in the team’. I came and said MS Dhoni (would be the captain). I exercised all my authority as the (BCCI) president,” he told.
However, India had won the ICC World Cup under Dhoni’s captaincy in April 2011, but he failed to do well in Tests but Srinivasan backed Dhoni and retained his position.
“See, there was apparently some prejudice somewhere, which reflected. He (Dhoni) has won the World Cup for you. After 1983, India won it again and you say, ‘I don’t want him to be the ODI captain’! Left to them (selectors), they might have (dropped him as a player). I don’t know. I think that was the most unfair (move) and I am glad that I stood my ground,” Srinivasan added.
On the other hand, Srinivasan appointed MS Dhoni as Chennai Super Kings captain in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2008. Since then, he has been leading the side and successfully led the team to the title thrice.
“Mahendra Singh Dhoni is an exceptional person, exceptional cricketer and a very, very fair person. I have had the privilege of knowing him, moving with him for over a decade. I have in my lifetime met and seen great cricketers, people who had great cricketing skills. MS is an exception. He only thought of India and the team he played for,” Srinivasan said.
“I have seen him in selection committee meetings. Whatever view he expressed was logical, to the point and he never showed any prejudice. I think in this aspect he towered over everybody else. I have come across so many people in business life, sporting life, but it will not be easy to equal his equanimity, poise and sense of fair play,” he expressed.
He further added: “He (Dhoni) knows how to get the best out of each player. He does it without fanfare, without publicity.
“He is a natural. Basically, he is not a complicated person. He is a person with great clarity of mind. Any fame will sit lightly on him. I think that Mahendra Singh Dhoni is one of the reasons for the burst of interest in T20 league cricket, including the IPL. The people of India have embraced T20 cricket and (its) many heroes, but MS Dhoni is special.
“Dhoni will continue as CSK captain in the IPL and the team is aiming for its fourth title. “He can play for CSK as long as he wants. At present, let CSK win the IPL. One of the reasons for CSK’s success under Dhoni is that he never thinks beyond the match. He never gets digressed. And we will follow the same policy now (with regards to Dhoni’s future at CSK after he hangs up his boots),” Srinivasan concluded.