‘Friendship is different,’ RP Singh on whether MS Dhoni backed him over others

Hindustan Times, Delhi | Byhindustantimes.com
May 11, 2020 04:05 PM IST

During an ODI series in 2008, Dhoni had allegedly offered to step down as captain if the selectors replaced Singh with Irfan Pathan.

Former India fast bowler RP Singh has shared a healthy friendship with MS Dhoni but the left-arm pacer insisted that it never affected his selection/ouster from the Indian team. Singh made the comments, referring to a controversy that had rocked Indian cricket in 2008 in which the nuances of a selection meeting had allegedly leaked.

MS Dhoni and Rp Singh during the 2009 World T20 in England(Getty Images)
MS Dhoni and Rp Singh during the 2009 World T20 in England(Getty Images)

As per reports, during the ODI leg of the 2008 home series against England, Dhoni had offered to step down as captain if the selectors replaced Singh with Irfan Pathan. 12 years later, looking back at the incident, Singh dismissed those claims, explaining how Dhoni has always been an unbiased captain and attributed it to the former India captain’s greatness.

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“I don’t think I was affected by the leak. The England series we are talking about, I didn’t get a wicket in Indore. Obviously people think they will get two or three more chances. But it was not meant to be. Some get five chances, some get 10 chances, the lucky ones,” Singh told Sports Tak.

“But many times it has happened to me, whenever my performance dipped, I was directly sent to play domestic cricket. Sometimes, people tend to stay with the team even if their performance dips and get good quality practice. The moment you go to domestic cricket, you won’t get that quality competition.”

Eyebrows were also raised on Dhoni during India’s tour of England in the summer of 2011, when Singh was hurried into the Playing XI for the fourth Test, a match in which he went wicketless giving away 118 runs. England won by an innings and eight runs, thus securing a 4-0 whitewash. Singh went on to play the ODIs a month later before being dropped and was never picked again. In 2018, the left-armer called time on his career.

“We [Dhoni and I] had a discussion about where I could improve, what I can do to get better. I know MS Dhoni. Friendship is a different thing, but leading the country is different altogether. At that moment, I think he pushed the ones who he thought were better. I think he pushed people whom he thought would follow the plans better,” added Singh.

“This is why MS Dhoni is MS Dhoni today. His unbiased opinions on cricket and decision making. I didn’t play as much as I should have because maybe my speed dipped and my swing dipped. Everything else is secondary. If I had improved then, I would have played more. But I am happy with whatever I achieved.”

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