SYDNEY – "I just said my statement. The best thing about statements is, you can assume it the way you want to."
That was MS Dhoni's response when told how his statement that he might have to give up Test cricket at the end of 2013 if he is to captain India to their World Cup defence was seen by many as a general disinterest in Test cricket.
"Maybe by 2013 I'll have to," Dhoni said. "It is two years away, and the kind of cricket we are playing - IPL, 45 days; Champions League; and back-to-back series; lots of games. We have to see where we last. It's not a calendar year where you get a lot of rest, and you get away with small niggles during that rest period."
Dhoni then sought to clarify his thought process. "I said end of 2013," he said. "Now it's the start of 2012, 2013 is two years. I don't know whether I will be alive in two years. That's a long time. What I said was, by the end of 2013, I will have to see whether I can play the World Cup. It wasn't about one format, it was about cricket. I can't play till 2014 and say I am not fit enough to survive till the next World Cup. And you'll have a player coming in who has played just 25 games."
When pointedly asked if he was as interested in Tests as he was in other formats, and whether Test cricket was as important in his mind, Dhoni's response was emphatic. "Of course. Test cricket is the real cricket." However, he went on to say he wasn't running down the other formats either.
"Every form of cricket has its own challenges," Dhoni said. "You have the Test format, the longer version. You have ODI cricket where you can see glimpses of Test cricket and Twenty20s, especially with two balls getting used. And all of a sudden a team loses three or four wickets, and you go and do the consolidating job and then go on with the slog. And then there is the shortest format where you lose five wickets, you go in and the longest consolidating period you get is one over and you start hitting again. All of them are very interesting, and as long as I am able to, I will play all the three formats." – Agencies