The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Yuvraj to gain if Dhoni has to miss first Test vs Pakistan
- Is haal mein nahin khel sakta, but... Thereís time to recover, says Team India ODI captain

New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni wasnít exactly limping, but was far from comfortable both when he boarded and when he got off Jetís Jaipur-New Delhi flight on Monday morning.

The discomfort had everything to do with the ODI and Twenty20 captain twisting his left ankle while batting under lights in the fifth and final ODI versus Pakistan, on Sunday.

ďIs haal mein (pointing to his bandaged ankle) nahin khel sakta, but there are some days between now and the start of the Test series... Thereís time to recover,Ē a chappal-wearing Dhoni told The Telegraph moments after getting off the aircraft.

Later in the day, Dhoni went for an MRI scan, but the report wasnít made public till late at night. ďI canít till Iíve briefed the captain (Anil Kumble)... Iíve got to be fair to everybody,Ē explained physio John Gloster.

Apparently, the ice-treatment was continuing.

As the three-match Test series begins on Thursday, Dhoni doesnít have too much time. If heís unfit, then Dinesh Karthik will wear the big gloves and a place found for the in-form Yuvraj Singh, adjudged MoS in the ODIs.

With Kumble being the Test captain, Dhoni is bound to feel relaxed after leading in the World Twenty20, 12 ODIs and a one-off Twenty20 at home. Once he has recovered from the injury, that is.

Dhoniís own take was: ďItís not that thereís going to be less pressure, but Iíll definitely have more time for myself... As captain, one has to do a lot of things, on and off the field... The commitments leave you with no time for yourself...Ē

A learner, Dhoni added: ďI donít like talking too much, but had to do so (at team meetings) being the captain... Had to take the initiative in keeping the intensity level high... Woh zaroori tha... Being the Test vice-captain, I wonít have to say much.Ē

The initiative paid rich dividends as Team India won the ODIs against Pakistan 3-2 (after losing 2-4 to Australia), allowing Dhoni to keep smiling. On becoming the ODI captain, in September, heíd feared that circumstances could compel him to stop doing so.

Actually, even if Dhoniís disappointed at not getting the Test captaincy as well, there has been absolutely nothing in his demeanour to give that away.

Thatís the sign of a bada khiladi.


Best: When we defeated Australia in Chandigarh (by 8 runs)... A truly satisfying win...
Worst: When we lost to Pakistan in Mohali (by 4 wickets)... That defeat was hard to take...
Most satisfying from a personal point of view: The two MoM awards in the last two series... The first in Chandigarh and, then, the one in Guwahati (ODI No. 1 against Pakistan)... Both gave plenty of satisfaction.


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