I had nothing on mind while putting out MS Dhoni tweet: Virat Kohli
- Kohli's tweet on Dhoni a few days back had fueled speculations about the news of MSD's retirement coming soon
- "Mere zehen mein kuch nahi thaa yaar (it wasn’t in my consciousness)," said Kohli when asked about the tweet
- Dhoni had made himself unavailable for the tour of West Indies and the upcoming home series against South Africa
DHARAMSALA: Quick question: What does Indian cricket do when faced with an elephant in the room? Answer: Let it be, of course.
For weeks now, speculation has grown regarding MS Dhoni’s absence from the squads for the limited-overs games in the West Indies and at home against South Africa. Why did he take a break? When will he return? Will he return? Will he be selected?
Dhoni had taken a two-month break after the World Cup but there has been no further clarification from the cricketer himself.
His non–availability is now the biggest talking point. It has confused selectors and puzzled fans. India are looking at trying out fresh faces in the lead-up to next year’s big ICC event, the T20 World Cup. It doesn’t seem as if MS is in that mix but woe betide if anyone in the Indian cricket setup will ever admit this in so many words.
At 38, there isn’t much cricket left in Dhoni but there seems to be no retirement buzz either, apart from a misinterpreted tweet from captain Virat Kohli fueling speculation.
On Saturday, Kohli clarified he had meant nothing by the tweet. He was asked what was up with Dhoni and whether he was still in the limited-overs scheme of things. Kohli said a lot but revealed nothing.
“Look, experience is always going to matter, whether you like it or not. There are a number of times people have given up on sportsmen and they have proved people wrong. He (Dhoni) has done that so many times in his career as well. One great thing about him is that he thinks for Indian cricket. The alignment is there. The kind of mindset he has had to groom youngsters and give them opportunities, he is still the same person. Whatever we think, he is on the same page.”
Question is, what is on that page? Kohli is the man entrusted with taking the tough decisions. If he is willing to wait on Dhoni as he decides on his future, why not simply say so? Retirement, Kohli admitted, was a personal decision, but surely selection isn’t?
“When you decide to stop playing is an absolutely individual thing. No one else should have an opinion on it. As long as he is available and continues to play, he is going to be very, very valuable,” Kohli said.
Kohli’s tweet, seemingly without context, depicted a photo with MSD from the 2016 World T20 match against Australia with the caption, ‘A game I can never forget. Special night. This man made me run like in a fitness test’. The rumour mills immediately went into overdrive, with many feeling Dhoni’s retirement could be hours away. Dhoni’s wife cleared the air with another tweet which simply said, “It’s just rumours.”
A game I can never forget. Special night. This man, made me run like in a fitness test 😄 @msdhoni 🇮🇳 https://t.co/pzkr5zn4pG— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) 1568267176000
Its called rumours !— Sakshi Singh 🇮🇳❤️ (@SaakshiSRawat) 1568291388000
“I had nothing on my mind (when I tweeted). Mere zehen mein kuch nahi thaa yaar (it wasn’t in my consciousness). I was sitting at home and I normally put out a photograph and it became a news item. I think it was a lesson for me, that the way I think, the whole world doesn’t think that way. There was nothing in (the) furthest stretch of my imagination while putting that pic out. I remember that game even now. People interpreted it in a different manner in which there wasn’t even an iota of truth,” Kohli said.
The retirement of many legendary Indian cricketers in the past has elicited similar speculation and even hand-wringing. It could be that Dhoni has not disclosed his plans. It could, also, simply be that in the Indian cricket setup, respect comes first, and uncomfortable questions later. No wonder Kohli will just let the issue be.