India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni said Tuesday he will remain captain as long as the country’s cricket board sees fit, ahead of a tour of Zimbabwe this month.
Dhoni’s future as captain was called into question after India’s lacklustre showing in the World Twenty20 but the limited-overs skipper has showed no sign of surrendering to his critics.
Former Team Director Ravi Shastri recently backed Test skipper Virat Kohli to lead the country in all formats, saying Dhoni should be allowed to enjoy the game as a player, free from the responsibility of captaincy.
“It’s not that I don’t enjoy the game, this decision (on captaincy) will be taken by the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), it’s not up to me to decide on that,” Dhoni said in response to Shastri’s comments.
With big guns including Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina rested, Dhoni will have the tough task of inspiring a bunch of youngsters in the African nation.
India will play three one-day internationals and T20s in Harare in the tour starting June 11, with as many as five uncapped players in the 16-man squad.
“I think it will be a very different experience (for me),” Dhoni told reporters in his pre-departure press conference in Mumbai.
“The reason being you keep playing with almost the same group of players, so you know the roles and responsibility.
“There will be quite a few players in this bilateral series whom I will be playing with for the first time,” said Dhoni.
With quite a few Indian Premier League performers like leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and medium-pacers Barinder Sran and Jasprit Bumrah in the line-up, Dhoni is banking on his bowling department.
“Overall they have been good on paper, both the batting and the bowling. You may say that bowling has had a bit more exposure to international cricket than our batting,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Dhoni also said that India’s next coach should have an understanding of the “culture and upbringing” of the nation.
The BCCI is in the process of recruiting a new coach, applications for which close on June 10.
The captain, who had a forgettable IPL season with newcomers Rising Pune Supergiants, believes that performances in the cash-rich league are not always the best judge of a player’s international worth.
“I have always said IPL is a platform where you identify talent. It is very different because it is still a form of domestic cricket,” he said.
“The moment you are told that you are representing India, there is a different pressure,” said Dhoni.