Why he stepped down as India captain: MS Dhoni reveals

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MS Dhoni has finally revealed why he gave up the limited-overs captaincy last year.
MS Dhoni has finally revealed why he gave up the limited-overs captaincy last year.

MS Dhoni has finally revealed why he gave up the limited-overs captaincy last year. Dhoni, who retired from Tests in December 2014 midway Australia tour, stepped down as skipper of the limited-overs teams in January 2017.

The reins were handed over to Virat Kohli, who led India to victory in the ODI and T20 International series against England in his first assignment as fulltime captain.

Kohli has lost only one out of eight ODI series since becoming the captain. He also led India to the final of the ICC Champions Trophy, which Pakistan won last year.

Dhoni clarified that he wanted the incoming skipper, Kohli, to get enough time to prepare his team for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales.

“I resigned from captaincy because I wanted the new captain to get enough time for preparing a team before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019,” Dhoni was quoted as saying by SportsRush at a motivational program organised by the CISF at the Birsa Munda Airport, Ranchi.

“Selecting a strong team without giving the new captain appropriate time isn’t possible. I believe that I left the captaincy at the right time,” Dhoni added.

India suffered an embarrassing 1-4 defeat in the recently concluded Test series against England. Kohli emerged the main star for the touring team, scoring 593 runs which was the highest, but faced criticism for his leadership skills from cricket experts around the world.

There was controversy regarding India’s reluctance to play practice games prior to the start of the series. Dhoni too blamed the lack of practice for India’s poor show in the series.

“Indian team missed out on playing practice matches before the series, which is why the batsmen are finding it difficult to adjust. This is a part of the game. We shouldn’t forget that India is currently No. 1 in the rankings,” Dhoni said.

India only played one practice match against Essex prior to the first Test at Edgbaston. The Indian team management had also cancelled their tour game in South Africa earlier this year. Skipper Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri had insisted that the team was ready to take on England in their own backyard.

But, come the end of the series, it looked like only Kohli was ready for the challenge and while the rest of the batsmen failed.

Kohli recently questioned the “utility” of tour games if the visiting side is not provided with ideal conditions and opposition in those matches.

“Lot of people talk about tour games but where are those tour games happening and against what quality of bowling are very important questions to be asked,” Kohli said in an interview to Michael Holding.

“Because if you don’t get the preparation you need before a Test series, then it is actually not utilised well. Time is not utilised well if you don’t get the quality of opposition that you will face in Test cricket,” he added.

Dhoni will next be seen in action in the upcoming Asia Cup, starting September 15 in the United Arab Emirates.

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