India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni plays a shot during the World T20
semi-final match against the West Indies in Mumbai on March 31, 2016.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni laughed off talk of retirement as
he put a brave face on the devastating World Twenty20 semi-final loss to
the West Indies.
The hosts came into the tournament with sky-high confidence but also
widespread speculation that it could be the last international outing
for Dhoni, 34.
But after India's stunning defeat by seven wickets, it was left to an
Australian journalist to put the burning question to Dhoni at Mumbai's
Dhoni then asked the somewhat stunned Sam Ferris of the
cricket.com.au website onto the dais, put his arm around him, and turned
the tables by becoming the interviewer.
"Do you want me to retire?" he said. "Do you think I am unfit,
looking at my running? Do you think I can survive until the 2019 World
When Ferris replied that Dhoni indeed looked more than capable of
staying in shape until the next 50-over World Cup, a laughing Dhoni then
responded: "Then you have answered the question."
"I wished it was an Indian media guy because I would have asked him
if he had a son old enough, and a wicketkeeper, to play!" he said.
The light-hearted exchange came at the end of a painful loss for the
wicketkeeper-batsman's team who had been red-hot favourites to win the
trophy on home soil.
After India had scored a slightly below-par total of 192 for two in
their 20 overs, the West Indies' run chase got off to a terrible start
when Chris Gayle was bowled for just five.
But first Johnson Charles and then Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell
started thrashing the Indian bowlers around the ground as they struggled
to make the ball grip in heavy dew. Hopes of a billion
Their cause was not helped by the agony of seeing Simmons twice
dismissed only to be reprieved both times when slow motion replays
showed that Ravichandran Ashwin and then Hardik Pandya had overstepped.
Simmons, playing in his first match of the tournament as a late
call-up for the injured Andre Charles, went on to smash a match-winning
82 off 51 balls.
If Simmons and the West Indies rode their luck, Dhoni was left to
curse his bad fortune which began when he lost a crucial toss and was
made to bat first.
"The difference between the first innings and the second innings when
it comes to the surface was too much," said Dhoni as he spoke about his
"In the first innings you will have seen there was a bit of
assistance for the spinners, it was gripping a bit, but there was
nothing much in the second innings."
Although India's star batsman Virat Kohli scored an unbeaten 89,
Dhoni acknowledged that they were about 10 runs short in their innings
but refused to criticise his players.
"The only thing I am disappointed about is the two no-balls, other than that we tried our best," he said.
"Luck is a factor definitely but at the end of the day you have to
play good cricket. There's none of the tournaments we have won was
because of good luck. There's nothing called good luck, you have to
execute your plans well."
Before the match, West Indies' skipper Darren Sammy had said the
semi-final was a "David and Goliath" encounter, with more than a billion
Indians willing their team to win.
Victory in the tournament would have been the icing on the cake for
Dhoni who also skippered India to victory on home soil in the 2011 World
Cup and in the inaugural World T20 in South Africa in 2007.
Kohli has already replaced him as Test captain but Dhoni, who is
India's most successful captain, remains a popular figure in the