Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the man under whose leadership India have attained numero uno status in Tests, felt that the ICC should take steps to popularise the longest format of the game and proposed that every side play a minimum number of Test matches a year.
“We can play a minimum number of Test matches and one-dayers annually. Above that, if institutions like the ECB and the BCCI want to conduct more Tests, then they are welcome,”he said on the sidelines of a function here on Monday.
“It is difficult to have a specific formula as the Future Tours Programme is fixed three to five years before and we have to adhere to that. But still, in my view, we can play a fixed number of Test matches every year,” he added.
Dhoni, did not speak much on the Kotla pitch fiasco.which led to the abandonment of the fifth and final ODI between India and sri lanka on Sunday. “It was the only abandoned match that I have played which means the wicket was not so good. The ICC officials will take a decision on the pitch,”he added.
Teammate Virender Sehwag , however, refused comment on the issue. The dashing middle order batsman refuted suggestions that players were succumbing to the burden of playing too many matches. “I don’t think we are playing excessive amount of cricket. This has been the case since the last eight years. However, the number of Twenty20 matches have increased since the advent of the Indian Premier League.”
Dhoni had a word of praise for the BCCI. “It has given us the discretion to opt out of any series. Players will be rotated. If a player has minor niggles then he can sit out out and nurse them so that they don’t materialise into major injuries in the future,” Mahi added on the eve of the launch of his website. He was accompanied by his teammates Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma who also launched their portals.
The ICC is mulling over introducing day-night Tests in the next two years. Dhoni was circumspect in his views on day-night tests. “It’s difficult to predict the future of day-night Tests. It is a proactive step taken by the ICC. We will have to wait and watch for the reactions of the fans.”
Speaking about his new year resolution, Dhoni said,“Even though we have attained the No. 1 ranking in Test cricket, rankings don’t really matter for us. We are preparing for the upcoming tri-series in Bangladesh and look forward to begin the year with a win in the series. Our motive is to enjoy the game and take each match as it comes.”
Sehwag had some advice for under-fire pacer Ishant Sharma. “Every player has to go through this phase. I also lost my place in the Indian side in 2007. In my view, playing Ranji matches will help him regain form and he will surely bounce back.”
Sehwag was of the view that his website would act as an interface between him and his fans. “This will provide me with an opportunity to interact with budding cricketers from far-flung areas. I will provide them tips to improve their technique.”
Dhoni felt that this website will shatter the myths surounding the lifestyle of the players. “Our lifestyle is simple and does not have any flamboyance. The website will provide a reflection of our lives.”