Dhoni plays down Agarkar’s remarks

On Saturday, while inaugurating the M. S. Dhoni Cricket Academy in Dubai — his first international academy, in association with Dubai-based Pacific Ventures — Dhoni made it clear that he is not affected by any criticism. “Everybody has their own views,” Dhoni said.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his wife Sakshi after reaching Dubai on Saturday.   -  Pacific Sports Club

The cricketing world may be divided over Ajit Agarkar’s jibe at Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the erstwhile skipper is not bothered about such remarks.

On Saturday, while inaugurating the M. S. Dhoni Cricket Academy in Dubai — his first international academy, in association with Dubai-based Pacific Ventures — Dhoni made it clear that he is not affected by any criticism. “Everybody has their own views,” Dhoni said.

Read: M.S. Dhoni needs to approach T20Is differently, says Ganguly

Considered the best finisher of the game, Dhoni’s recent form in T20 cricket has come under scanner, with players like Agarkar calling for his head. "India must now look at other options (beyond Dhoni), at least in T20Is. In one-day cricket, they seem be happy with the role that he is playing. When you were the captain of the side, it was different. But just as a batsman, will India miss him, I don't think so. In T20 cricket, it is lot easier to make that transition as there is lot of experience in that team apart from MS Dhoni now," Agarkar was quoted as saying.

But interacting with the scribes at the Springdales School campus, a calm and composed Dhoni said that during his ‘break’, he loves spending more time with his state team—Jharkhand. “Our schedule is jam-packed. I spend a lot of time with my state team, irrespective what they are playing. Be it U-16, U1-9, I spend time with them so that they can be successful,” he said.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni unveil the MS Dhoni Cricket Academy in Dubai on Saturday.   -  Pacific Sports Club

 

Talking about his academy, Dhoni admitted that the idea of setting up an academy came for the passion of the game. “It is not about making money. It is for the passion for the game and the children... (The) greatest way of teaching a child how to play cricket or football is in schools,” he said, raising concerns about the kids staying away from any kind of sporting activities. “With social media around, kids are not willing to step out and play. That is in a way leading to health issues. It is a movement to start academy overseas. It will help youngsters make better cricketers and make them fit. It is no rocket science. It is not always about playing for country,” the erstwhile India skipper added.

READ: Dhoni to inaugurate academy in Dubai on Saturday

While he would be the face of the academy, the onus will be on the coaches to bring out real talents. “Coaches should have that passion. They should want their kids to do well. I won’t be there for 365 days. We will be there at the back, but at the forefront, it would be the coaches who will play the key role,” he pointed out.

The MS Dhoni Cricket Academy at the Springdales School campus in Dubai.   -  Pacific Sports Club

 

Seeing their idol around, the kids and the parents were curious to know about his trademark helicopter shot. Dhoni, however, made it clear that he would not want a youngster to try such shots. “(It is) something I learnt while playing tennis ball cricket. It is difficult. In normal cricket, you have to play through the middle of the bat. I don’t want them to play helicopter shots because they could injure their hands.”

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The event also saw the presence of Shaji-ul Mulk, the founder of the T10 Cricket League. There were questions on whether, Dhoni would associate himself with the TCL. “You can’t associate me with everything that Pacific Ventures. As far as TCL is concerned, I don’t have any involvement,” Dhoni said with a smile.

READ: Virat Kohli laughs off 'rift' with M.S. Dhoni

At 36, Dhoni still finds his biggest motivation from the India colours. “Biggest motivation is being a part of the Indian cricket team,” he said, adding, “You have seen cricketers who are not god-gifted, but even then, they have gone far. That’s because of the passion. The coaches need to find that out. Everybody doesn’t play for the country.”

The ‘Captain Cool’ will hold a cricket clinic for the young cricketers on Sunday before returning to India.

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