Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Dhaka: “It has been painful and disappointing, but it’s over... The defeat is part of history, it can’t be changed. Today, I can’t change the result...”
That was India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, during a brief interaction with The Telegraph at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon on Monday, before he and his team departed to take a Mumbai-bound flight.
Perhaps to avoid being pestered for photographs, Dhoni sat with his back to the entrance of Cafe Bazaar, the hotel’s coffee shop, where breakfast is served.
But with security personnel looking only in Dhoni’s direction, people soon got to know where the India captain was seated.
Sure enough, a bat was quickly thrust before Dhoni. He autographed it.
Sunday saw Dhoni’s India finish second-best in the World T20 final, behind Sri Lanka, the first time that Dhoni hadn’t lifted a global trophy after making the title-round.
That hasn’t affected Dhoni’s stock: He’s still been named captain of the men’s ICC World T20 Team of the Tournament.
Dhoni rarely comes to the breakfast area at hotels, but he did on Monday, explaining that it was only because “the team had to leave at 11.15.”
Asked if he was conscious about having lost a global final for the first time (after three successes, in two formats), Dhoni quipped: “Now that you’ve told me, I’ve become aware... One may not like some firsts, but they do happen... Kisi na kisi ke saath to hota hai.”
[In 2007, Dhoni brought home the inaugural World T20 trophy; the World Cup in 2011 and the Champions Trophy last June. His is a phenomenal CV, really.]
On a more serious note, Dhoni dismissed a suggestion that India probably took Sri Lanka lightly.
“Absolutely not... A final for a World title is very big... We respect all opponents... You can’t afford to take anybody lightly... The T20 format is such that it allows even the smaller teams to cause upsets,” Dhoni countered.
Around seven-eight minutes remained for 11.15 am, but Dhoni chose to head for the team bus. “I’m particular about timings... I’d rather be in the bus early... Main ab chal rahan hoon...”
A master at controlling emotions, Dhoni didn’t let out the pain and disappointment. However, teammate Ravichandran Ashwin, who had an excellent World T20, didn’t hold back.
While checking-out at the five-star property, Ashwin said: “It has been heartbreaking.”
Like Dhoni, Ashwin’s made the Team of the Tournament. Vice-captain Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma are in the XI, too.
Ravindra Jadeja was as downcast as Ashwin. “Woh log achcha khele, but they were also lucky... Aakhri mein hum haar gaye, kharab to lage ga hi...”
Dhoni, meanwhile, will spend a few days in Mumbai (his second home, after Ranchi) before heading to the UAE for the first-leg of IPL VII.
One understands Dhoni will travel to the UAE a couple of days after the much-in-the-news Chennai Super Kings leave on Thursday.
The Super Kings’ first match, against the Kings XI Punjab, is in Abu Dhabi on April 18.