Dhoni avoids probing questions on captaincy ahead of T20 clash



PUNE: Under-fire Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni yesterday refused to be drawn into a debate over split-captaincy theory as suggested by former greats after his team's humiliating 1-2 Test series defeat against England.

"Your question on my view about split captaincy is good but let's stick to T20 format as we have a T20 game on Thursday," was Dhoni's curt reply when a local reporter asked him about the hotly debated topic.

That Dhoni was trying to sidestep the issue became evident when he gave the same answer in a roundabout manner to a British journalist.

"Before the start of an important series, I don't want to comment on that. Because when it comes to Indian cricket, if it's not going the right way, questions pop up about captaincy, senior players, junior players, the kind of talent we have got, the bench strength we have got.
"Everything will pop up and if you keep answering, I think we will be short of time," was the Indian captain's reply to his query.

He was trying to repeatedly evade tough questions on India's failure. "No point looking too much into the past. That I have always said, whether you do well or do badly, it is important to stick to the present and the coming format is very different. Let's stick to it."

"It's a completely different format, so I don't think there's any point carrying anything from the Test series. It's a very different format altogether," the Indian skipper said, presenting a dead bat to anything and everything asked about Tests. Dhoni saw some positives to emerge from the Test loss to England. "It was disappointing that we did not win the series and also after a long period at home. But in the last Test match (at Nagpur) we did pretty well. The wicket was quite flat. Still there were plenty of positives (from the series).

"Youngsters like Cheteshwar Pujara, who I think is the future for us along with Virat Kohli, did well. You saw the bowlers did well, especially the spinners, when there was not much assistance from the wicket."

Dhoni said there have been no indications from senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar after the drawn game at Nagpur about his future.

"No, nothing at all," he said to the English scribe. Dhoni said though it was demanding to switch over so fast from the longest to the shortest format of the game, the professionals that they are will have to make the shift.

The dew factor
"It's demanding to switch formats as Test cricket is totally different from T20 matches, but as international cricketers we are supposed to stand up to the demands of the game. Maybe one more practice session would have helped but this is the only one we have. So we have to make the most out of it."

The dew factor may come in, said Dhoni, which may negate the effectiveness of the spinners as the ball tends to skid and not grip the dew-laded surface.

"England are a balanced side irrespective of the format. It (condition) may be slightly different this time of the year with a bit of dew which may mean the spinners may not be that effective, but these are all speculations."

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