Mumbai:Victorious at last in the Indian Premier League and headed to the West Indies to captain India in the T20 World Cup, Skipper MS Dhoni spoke exclusively to NDTV in his first television interview since IPL boss Lalit Modi's suspension.
Talking about the controversies that the IPL has been mired in, Dhoni hoped that things would be sorted out in time for Season 4: "Lalit was part of it for three seasons and since then we have grown..every season we come up with something different...I don't know what exactly has been happening...quite a few allegations have been made and so many things going around...I think it is up to the authorities to see what has happened. Now that everybody is into it...from the IT department to the IPL Governing Council....so I think they will come up with something that's good for everyone and see that nothing wrong is happening. I guess we should wait and watch because before the next IPL we have one year to go and we will be 100% sure what exactly is happening," he said.
Q. But would IPL survive the controversy and how will it do without Modi?
Yes, said the Indian Skipper, "I guess as far as IPL is concerned...it's here to stay...it's just that you have to come up with something to make it better....IPL as a brand can survive on its own. But you have to come up with some innovative ideas every time to make it better. In IPL there will come a stage that to make it even one notch better you would need plenty of ideas...So it's not about an individual...but it would take a cumulative effort from few and will come up with the idea that will make IPL that one notch better."
"Match fixing," Dhoni said, " is the biggest and the worst (sic) allegation against a cricketer...If there's a suspect or anything it should be very carefully handled and action should be taken only if someone has concrete proof...and if anything of this sort is happening then the cricketer involved should be punished in the harshest way possible...just that before any step is taken you should hundreds per cent sure that this cricketer was involved because it earns bad name and big time bad name I think the worst thing that could happen to me is not being out of form or getting dropped from the team...but it is a match fixing allegation can be the worst that could happen."
Q. Before the next IPL there will be an auction again. Would you like to go back to the auction pool, get a higher salary for yourself or would you choose to remain a Super King?
"Given a choice I would like to remain with the Chennai Super Kings because once you spend three years with a franchise...you build up an association and then again going back to the auction and to a new franchise with new people trying to make an association with you for three and a lot of moving around..it doesn't really help...so i would like to stay with Chennai..but we have to look at the formula...how many foreign and Indian players you can retain...but in 4 to 5 years what you will see is complete professionalism and you can see a lot of cricketers changing franchises many times.
Q. India is the only team which goes into the World T20 without any practice game...does it worry you that you won't get enough time for acclimatisation?
"I think the conditions would be quite the same...there won't be a lot of difference from the sub-continent...its humid there as well...we just need to see how the wicket is...generally at St. Lucia we have seen that the wicket is a bit slow....I think if we go and perform well there then we would say that IPL worked in our favour...we played many matches here...more often than not its after the result that you can pick your options."
Q. All those who played the IPL...your body clocks goes through a complete change.....?
I guess we will be fine if we do not look at the sun...9 o' clock morning over there will 7 in the evening over here...so I don't think we have to adjust big time and let us land there and see
Q. Yuvraj Singh has said that he is low on confidence...so as a captain how do you handle such situations?
I think cricket is a game where you will be low on confidence more than once in a season and I guess if you are a bit nervous it gets the best out of you...you are not flamboyant and overconfident..So it is good to be a bit nervous...and as far as Yuvraj Singh is concerned...In T20 format there isn't anything called form...you can get form in 2 deliveries...you can lose form in 15 deliveries....so I am not too bothered about him because he is a player who likes challenges thrown at him... and this is a big stage and he is a player who loves big stages...so his intensity goes up and his will to perform goes up..so I think being a bit nervous is not a bad thing for him before the start of a big tournament.
Q. With Virender Sehwag not going because of an injury...is it a kind of a concern for you?
To some extent yes but we can't control injuries...because now a days the intensity is very high...the intensity in practice is the same as in a match....so in a game if you have a sporting injury because of diving around to stop a single...you cannot really do anything about it. So it is unfortunate and we will miss him...but the good thing is that Murali Vijay is in good knick and he has had a good season in IPL...so we are just hoping that we do not miss Sehwag because of Murali Vijay.
When on all things controversial, what about the role vastu has played in CSK matches at the instance of owner N Srinivasan? Dhoni, who has reportedly been a little piqued about having to bow to stellar configurations when making cricketing decisions played defensive: "Srinivasan's vastu has been good...nothing bad. Every franchise is doing little things. It is subtle...most cricketers are superstitious. No wild predictions like was made in 2007."
From IPL season 3, Dhoni counted meeting the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala as a "very special' moment. "May be because of Dalai Lama's blessings we won the finals. Of course, because of the way the team played ," he said
The Chennai Super Kings had "played to 70 per cent of our potential", he said, modestly giving complete credit to his team: "I am not the king of T20 yet but Chennai Super Kings"
And he is counting on CSK teammate Murali Vijay to come good in West Indies. Murli, who has been in spectacular form in the IPL and came into the World Cup squad as a last-minute replacement for opener Virendra Sehwag. "Will miss Sehwag...hoping Murali Vijay does not let us miss Sehwag", said Dhoni, who believes that Murali's 100 was the best IPL innings.
And if there is anything at all that you didn't know about the Indian Skipper, here are some extra nuggets:
He has 22 bikes.
He says he has never been to an IPL party
He is not convinced that everyone can play with a Mongoose bat
He says the T20 trophy was heavier than the IPL trophy, but the latter is special.
Watch full interview below...