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Dhoni wants new coach to have grasp of Indian culture

India limited-overs skipper MS Dhoni believes knowing Hindi, given as desirable by BCCI in its advertisement inviting applications for head coach, is less important than understanding the country’s culture.

cricket Updated: Jun 07, 2016 22:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
India’s limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is facing questions about his retirement as he leads a young squad for the short tour of Zimbabwe.(PTI)

With India selecting an inexperienced squad for the limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe, the spotlight will be on the young guns chosen for their maiden tour.

However, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will face even more scrutiny during the 12-day tour as there are question marks over his captaincy in limited-overs cricket.

A woeful Indian Premier League season where his Rising Pune Supergiants struggled all through while Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore made it to the final has only increased the clamour for Dhoni to relinquish captaincy in favour of Kohli.

However, the man in the eye of the storm has no intention of stepping aside.

“It’s not like I’m not enjoying the game. But it’s a decision that BCCI will take. It’s not up to me to decide that,” Dhoni told reporters a day before the team’s departure for Harare.


Dhoni said while he has no control over his form, his emphasis was on maintaining his fitness.

“The day I’m not able to run as fast as I am right now, I’ll know where the guns will be coming from. I’ve to keep myself more fit so that fitness is not an issue. Form will keep going up and down. You can’t control that. I’m not a fast bowler, so the kind of demand on my body is different. So, I feel I’ve to be very fit,” the 34-year-old added.

The Zimbabwe tour is being used by the selectors to test the bench strength. However, Dhoni requested the selectors to pick him for the tour, perhaps keeping in mind the few ODIs and T20s India will play this year.

The loudest call for Dhoni to step down as captain came from former India team director Ravi Shastri, who has thrown his weight behind Test skipper Kohli. Shastri believes Kohli leading in all formats will be “in the interest of Indian cricket”.

Shastri is a front-runner to become the next national coach with BCCI preferring candidates who can communicate in Hindi.

Dhoni, however, believes that more than language, the next coach should be someone who understands Indian culture.

“I think there is no big problem with communication. As you have seen with the kind of players coming in, English is not a big barrier. I feel, speaking in Hindi can be a criterion, but it can’t be the only criteria. More than speaking Hindi or English, the candidate who understands our culture and our upbringing will be better with us. In the past too, these things have been important — when coaches have understood these things better, there has been a difference on the ground,” Dhoni said.

First Published: Jun 07, 2016 22:46 IST