Virender Sehwag, who has recently called time on his international cricket career, has backed under-fire skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to stay on as India’s limited overs captain till the next World Cup.
Replying to queries about Dhoni, Sehwag said: “He should continue as captain till the next World Cup. If he does so, he can leave behind a good World Cup team. And if he retires… you can imagine, even now when Dhoni is there, people have to think about who should bat at 5th, 6th and 7th position.
“If Dhoni is not there, the 5th, 6th and 7th slots will become absolutely free and you cannot expect somebody to finish the match properly.”
The explosive opener dismissed reports that it was Dhoni who was behind the decision to drop him from the Indian team.
Asked if he believed Dhoni had a hand in dropping him from the team, the former India batsman told ‘India TV’ show ‘Aap ki Adalat’: “I don’t think Dhoni would have done this. He is a nice man at heart. We senior players respect him, and when he first took over as captain, all senior players played under him, gave him guidance and nice suggestions, which he implemented during his captaincy and our team won in T20, ODIs and Test matches.”
On whether he had tiffs with Dhoni, Sehwag said: “I don’t think any such thing happened. It was all media speculations that Sehwag and Dhoni are at loggerheads. We stay in a hotel together and play matches, I don’t think such things occurred. Had it been so, I would have been dropped much earlier. I don’t think (Sourav Ganguly’s) statement (that Dhoni was behind Sehwag’s ouster from Team India) was correct.”
When it was pointed out that Ganguly had remarked that a captain always had a say in the selection of players, Sehwag said: “Normally the criterion is, any player can be dropped after non-performance in four Tests whether he is the captain or a senior or a junior player.
“The selectors decide the criteria. I think the picking or dropping of players by a captain used to take place when Ganguly was the skipper, but the scenario changed thereafter, when Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble took over. Probably they changed the trend and it was decided that only those who perform, shall play.”
When pointed out that former India coach Greg Chappell had written in his column that the tiff between Sehwag and Dhoni began because the former wanted to become captain, Sehwag replied: “You can ask Dhoni about this. We played the World Cup together in 2007. To say that I wanted to become the captain is entirely incorrect. When Dhoni became captain and I played under him, we won the T20 World Cup.