Dhoni brushes off leadership criticism


MS Dhoni light-heartedly dismissed questions over his leadership after India were consigned to defeat in their one-day international series against Australia on Sunday.

The scrutiny upon India's ODI captain is likely to intensify after the three-wicket loss to Australia in Melbourne put the five-match series out of their reach at 3-0.

India have won only one of their last four series in the 50-over game.

Despite the string of poor results, Dhoni jokingly suggested a review of his captaincy could only be done through legal proceedings with a public interest litigation (PIL).

"There will be a conflict of interest if I start reviewing my performance. We would have to put a PIL to judge my performance as the skipper," Dhoni said.

On a more serious note, the captain highlighted inexperience in India's bowling attack as something that needed to be addressed going forward.

"It is not about the leader. I am captain at the moment and somebody else will come later. It is more important to see the areas we are lacking, the departments which have to improve when it comes to shorter formats," he added.

"We don't have a seaming all-rounder, so let's not even go to that topic. If you see this series it is a relatively inexperienced bowling line-up. 

"Ishant Sharma has played a lot of international cricket but he is not someone who has been consistently part of the format. Umesh Yadav has been on and off and there are others who have made their debuts here.

"So [what] we have to assess right now is how good the individuals are and what are they doing and what's their rate of development."

Defeat at the MCG came despite an impressive 117 off 117 balls from Virat Kohli, and Dhoni said India's Test captain is key to their future in the short form of the sport.

"He [Kohli] has consistently performed and improved his performance. He is the best amongst the Indian batsmen, along with Rohit [Sharma] in the shorter format," Dhoni explained.

"The way he paced his innings, it was slightly different to the first two games. But he reads the game really well, which I think, is very important in the middle overs.

"Virat is somebody that we'll have to look up to in the future, because he's somebody who will take the team forward for a long time."