Dubai: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been under fire for not bringing himself up the batting order for Chennai Super Kings so far in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL), found a backer in the ‘dada’ of Indian cricket - Sourav Ganguly.
‘‘You have to give him some time. Let’s not forget he is playing competitive cricket after one and-a-half years,’’ said Ganguly, former Indian skipper and now the president of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
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Speaking to local media at a promotional event in his city Kolkata on Monday, Ganguly - who was in the UAE for two weeks for the launch of the IPL - said: ‘‘When Dhoni was at his peak and I was a part of the broadcast team, I had said that he would bat at number four.’’ Dhoni, who quit international cricket in mid-August, had come as low as in No.7 position in a game as the three-time champions have looked a bit out of sorts in the early stages of the tournament.
Asked if he could speak to Dhoni after his retirement, Ganguly said: ‘‘I spoke to him on the day of his retirement. I could not during the IPL as we can’t reach them. They are in a bubble. He’s completely in a safe zone so I could not meet him. It’s not only Dhoni but all the players...I have not met anyone.’’ Reflecting on the challenging circumstances under which the BCCI went ahead with the decision of shifting the IPL overseas, Ganguly opened up: ‘‘Nobody was sure that how much of IPL will happen or whether it would happen at all. The situation was in nobody’s control. But we had to do IPL, we wanted our lives to be back. Like in England it was possible, if we could create bio-bubble, the health system it could happen. The only challenge for IPL was, there were about 300 people in a city. For a bilateral, there are only about 50-60 people in a city.
‘‘The more the people, the harder it become. Touchwood it’s going good. I must congratulate the players. It’s been hardest for them because it’s not easy to stay in a hotel room for two months. Lot of credit to them,’’ he said.
Asked about the media reports on the possibility of the UAE hosting India’s Test series against England early next year in view of the COVID-19 situation, Ganguly said: ‘‘We want to hold our cricket in India, that’s where the game is, that’s where the heart is. But we are monitoring the COVID situation so we will take it from there. We go to Australia after the IPL. England come here, then there’s another IPL to follow after that.’’