Sydney, Jan 31: Facing severe criticism for his unimpressive captaincy and performances in Test cricket, under-fire Mahendra Singh Dhoni has offered to quit the leadership role in the longer format of the game if the BCCI feels there is a better replacement waiting in the wings.
Dhoni said if somebody could do a better job than him in Tests, then he will be more than happy to step down as captain for the sake of the team.
“It (captaincy) doesn't belong to anyone. It's a position I hold, and it's an added responsibility. I always like to do well till I am in job but it's not something I want to stick to. If there is a better replacement, he can come in,” Dhoni said today ahead of tomorrow's first Twenty20 game Australia.
“At the end of the day, you want India to perform. If there is someone who can do a better job, captaincy should be given to him. It's not something you have to cling on to,” said Dhoni as speculation grew over his Test future both as a batsman and captain.
Dhoni now has lost seven straight Test matches abroad as captain and as a batsman, his stocks have really fallen low on foreign pitches.
While he made 220 at 31.43 from four Tests in England, he scored 102 from six innings of three Tests at 20.40 on the present tour.
“The responsibility was given to me three-and-a-half years ago. I am trying to fit into the shoes, get along with the team and perform well.”
Dhoni had earlier dropped hints during the Test series that he might leave Test cricket altogether by 2013 to make himslef available the 2015 World Cup.
“It's two years to 2013. I don't know whteher I would still be alive! There would be IPL, Champions League, back-to-back series. It's not a calendar you can decide in advance or if there is a lot of rest”, Dhoni said. “I would have to decide by 2013 but it's two years away. I can't say in 2014 that I am not playing next World Cup and give a player of 25-odd matches (a chance to prove),” he said.
Dhoni, however, made it clear that his journey as a Test cricketer was far from over but believed the decision was not entirely in his hands.
“I am still on my way (through the journey). I haven't reached anywhere. But it's not an individual who decides, it's others who decide whether you are good enough or not. “As a player, I am giving my 100 per cent. I am still doing what I was doing. Test cricket is real cricket, but I am not discarding other formats. Every format has its own challenges,” he said.
The India captain made a tongue in cheek remark about the dressing room, which according to him is humming with the noise and bubble of the youngsters—much in contrast to the staid, sober and solemn environment when the seniors were around.
“Our one-day squad looks very different. It's lot more noisy and lift the dressing room atmosphere. People pull each other's legs and it's more lively. It's very, very different,” he said.
“It's like you have come from Kishore Kumar to Sean Paul! It's that kind of difference. It's very noisy. It's a very different generation of players.
“As for me, I keep adjusting. A mix of everything is good. From classical to rap music of latest version,” he said.