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Dhoni stops short of denying quitting reports

Last updated on: November 22, 2008 19:08 IST

A selection controversy rocked Indian cricket on Saturday following reports that Mahendra Singh Dhoni had threatened to resign as captain after he had failed to ensure that pacer Rudra Pratap Singh was retained in the side playing the current ODI series against England.

On the eve of the fourth one-dayer against England, a livid Dhoni did little to dampen the speculation about resignation threat when he told reporters in Bangalore that "something or the other leaks out" but stopped short of denying the reports.

Dhoni apparently wanted R P Singh, who gave away 49 runs without taking a wicket in the second one-dayer after which he was dropped but the selectors replaced him with Irfan Pathan.

"I don't know from where the reports came from. It cannot be a report. What happens inside while the selectors and the captains are there, if it comes out, it is disgusting, it's disrespecting. Things like these should not happen," Dhoni said.

"I am not talking about whether something or not happened in the selection meeting. Over the years, we have found out something or other goes out. We go to see....we are at the highest stature because we are selecting 16 guys for the Indian team.

"We will have debate inside and things like this should not come out. I think if they are suppose to come out, it's better we have a live television out there because what comes out ...nobody should know apart from the eight guys who are sitting down," Dhoni said.

Asked whether the controversy would affect the players ahead of the match, Dhoni said, "Not really. I don't think it was as important. Plenty of things are out there.

"We have an important match coming up. We are all focussed on that. It's raining since morning so we are a bit worried about the practice session," he said.

Dhoni was angry with the with way media blew up the issue and said selection matters should not come out in the open.

"It's a selection thing. Personally, I don't discuss anything outside. Whatever happens stays in the meeting, stays inside. Whatever comes out of the meeting I would prefer it to come out from either BCCI or the chief selector or the group of selectors," the India captain said.

According to media reports, Dhoni had a disagreement with the selectors during the meeting in Kanpur on Thursday to pick the team for the fourth and fifth matches of the ongoing series.

Dhoni was unhappy that the selectors decided to drop R P Singh and include Pathan in his place and offered to resign, the reports claimed.

The BCCI, however, came out with a vague response which neither confirmed nor denied the development.

"I can't respond to something that is being floated around by somebody," BCCI secretary N Srinivasan said.

The reports said BCCI President Shashank Manohar was forced to interfere and sort out the issue.

Dhoni said such leaks are detrimental for the game in the country and told the media that it would be better if the identity of the person who leaked the report could be known.

"It would be good for the Indian Cricket if you quote that person," he said.

Dhoni said he shares a good relation with his team mates and hoped that such reports would not create a rift in the team.

Asked specifically if it would affect his relation with the two players Dhoni said, "To some extent it does. The good thing is that we trust each other because in a scenario like this all of a sudden you have to get in touch with R P Singh and Irfan Pathan.

"And you don't want RP to feel that I will go out of the way and stand and defend him and Irfan should not feel I don't want him in the team.

"But the good part is that both of them trust me and my talks with them went of well."

Dhoni was also unhappy with the timing of the reports since it came on the eve of an important match.

"I don't think it's appropriate that it happened at a point like this because I don't think we have an outstanding and talented side to win every match but as a team we will become outstanding. For us the winning mantra is team effort," he said.

Dhoni meanwhile welcomed the return of Sachin Tendulkar into the squad and did not rule out the possibility of him opening the innings on Sunday.

"We all want him to play for long. It's a pleasure to have him in the team. It will help youngsters."

Dhoni also felt that pace spearhead Zaheer Khan needs rest but indicated that he will play the fourth ODI, which if India wins, will seal the series for the hosts.

Dhoni said he is worried about the weather conditions as the pitch and outfield at the Chinnaswamy stadium has dampness following intermittent rains, the city has been experiencing since Sunday afternoon.

"It is quite soft. There is dampness. If sun shines it would be good," he said.

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