Sydney: India's ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday left open the possibility of playing in the 2019 World Cup in England, saying that he would take a call after the Twenty20 World Cup next year.
Dhoni, who retired from Test cricket late last year, said that he is 33 now and will wait till the T20 World Cup, to be held in India in March.
The wicketkeeper-batsman's future has been a subject of speculation after his Test retirement and he has also spoken of the toll his body has taken by playing non-stop cricket.
“I am 33, I'm still running and I am still fit. Next year (at the World T20) will be the right time to decide if I should play World Cup 2019,” Dhoni said in the post-match presentation.
Rated among the best finishers in ODI cricket right now for pulling off difficult run chases, Dhoni has been India's most successful skipper, having led the side to two World Cup titles (the 2007 World T20 and the 2011 ODI World Cup).
Questioned about his future in the post-match press conference after the crushing 95-run loss to Australia in the World Cup semifinals, Dhoni laughed off the query.
“You guys should carry out a research and then write the complete opposite because that would be the truth. I play for the enjoyment of the game and the day I decide to go, I will pack my bags and happily go away,” he said with a grin.
Dhoni has played 262 ODIs, scoring 8299 runs at an impressive average of 52.46.
At the post match press conference, Dhoni gave ample indication that he is not calling it quits from the shorter formats of the game any time soon, stating that media can continue speculating about his possible swansong from international cricket.
The first question at his post-match media conference was on his thoughts on international retirement and the skipper had a wry smile on his face.
“Well, I was expecting this question but didn't expect that it would be first question. It's up to you guys. The media should do a nice research on it, take a few days, and my advice will be whatever you decide, write the complete opposite and that will be the fact,” Dhoni said, evoking laughter among the scribes in the media room.
The same question was asked more directly as to whether there is a possibility of him suddenly calling it quits tomorrow just like he decided to stun the cricketing community with his sudden retirement from Test cricket.
“No, I won't announce it tomorrow. We will be travelling. Main itna buddha laagta hoon kya (Do I look that old?) I told you guys, decide and then write the opposite,” he said tongue-in-cheek.
On a serious note, he was asked about his legacy in ODI cricket and there was a dismissive tone in his straightforward reply.
“For me, every time I turn up, what's important is to do something special so that I can be part of or I can contribute to the win. Apart from that, what people think about me as a player or what I have done, it doesn't really matter because I play for the enjoyment of the game, and I don't really have to do anything with the amount of runs I have scored. The day I pack my bags, I will pack it, and I'll be happy on my bike,” the skipper said.
There was a question on support staff and Dhoni was all praise for them calling them a “family” and then also spoke about team's media manager Dr R N Baba, who has not topped the popularity charts among the Indian media contingent.
“Dr. Baba is quite strict over here, but with us inside, it's quite friendly. (Laughter) I keep telling him, if the media is happy with you, then you are not a good media manager. But that's the kind of thing that really helps you. It's a very long tour, over four months at one place; another 20 days and we can apply for citizenship,” Dhoni said in jest as Baba had a sheepish grin on his face.