Former Indian fast bowler RP Singh doesn’t blame the selection meeting leak controversy for his ouster from the Indian squad during a home series against England in 2008. Singh believes that Dhoni did not let his friendship affect the decisions he made as a captain.
Talking about the infamous leak alleging that Dhoni fought with selectors for Irfan Pathan’s selection over Singh, the fast bowler felt that despite the ouster, staying with the team would have helped him instead of domestic cricket.
“I don’t think I was affected by the leak. The England series we are talking about, I didn’t get a wicket in Indore. Obviously people think they will get 2 or 3 more chances. But it was not meant to be. Some get 5 chances, some get 10 chances the lucky ones,” he told Sports Tak.
“But many times it has happened to me, whenever my performance dipped, I was directly sent to play domestic cricket. Sometimes, people tend to stay with the team even if their performance dips and get good quality practice. The moment you go to domestic cricket, you won’t get that quality competition.
Singh admitted that he still receives a lot of flak on his social media accounts whereas the southpaw believed that it was his decision to make an early comeback to the team after recovering from grade 2 hamstring that affected his career.
“After the recovery, I played domestic cricket and then played international cricket again. But I feel I was not able to accept that I made a few mistakes. Had someone else been there to mentor me I would have handled it better,” the 34-year-old said.
“I recovered from the injury but I could have taken more time to get back on the field. I was worried about my place. If I stay out of the team for a while then I might lose my place. That’s why I trained harder and felt that I was fit but the benchmark I achieved as a bowler, maybe to reach there I would have taken one more month. That was one of the biggest mistakes I made that I came back earlier than I should have. My pace went down. From 140 (kmph) plus I went to back to 130-135 again,” he added.
The inaugural T20 World Cup 2007-winning member also lauded Dhoni for his unbiased opinions as a captain.
“We [Dhoni and I] had a discussion about where I could improve, what I can do to get better. I know MS Dhoni. Friendship is a different thing, but leading the country is different altogether. At that moment, I think he pushed the ones who he thought were better. I think he pushed people whom he thought would follow the plans better.
“This is why MS Dhoni is MS Dhoni today. His unbiased opinions on cricket and decision making. I didn’t play as much as I should have because maybe my speed dipped and my swing dipped. Everything else is secondary. If I had improved then, I would have played more. But I am happy with whatever I achieved.”
The Rae Bareli-born cricketer also talked about his insight to what seniors would have seen to make Dhoni the captain of the team two years after his debut.
“They (senior players) should have seen something different. Today when we see MS Dhoni… he has gone to become a big name and had a massive impact on world cricket. They saw his calmness, his match awareness as a keeper. Batting potential was always there, his keeping was also improving a great deal.
“But the most important thing was the balanced temperament, his off the field behaviour. When we talk about the selection (as captain), his match awareness and his ability to take the game forward should have played a big role,” RP Singh said.
The left-armer played 14 Tests, 58 ODIs and 10 T20Is for India taking 40, 69 and 15 wickets respectively and announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in September 2018.
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