London: "I feel awful...because I miss my parents", says India`s charismatic cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been forced to spend considerable time away from home because of a tight international schedule.
Dhoni said his parents always talk about him when he is not around and is keen to make up for lost time when his international career comes to an end.
"I feel awful as I am talking right now because I miss my parents. But at the same time I know I will have fair amount of time with my parents once I finish cricket, after these two, or three, or four years - whatever it is.”
"My wife tells me when I am not around at the house, 80 per cent of the conversation is about me. But I told my dad, this is the time when I am doing something for the country, and the country comes first. I feel he really understands that" Dhoni told a daily.
In the interview, Dhoni also spoke about how he first came into the limelight.
"It was a 35-over game, the school league final," he said. "I scored 213, and hit seven or eight sixes, and those were big sixes, I was quite famous in Ranchi from quite early."
When he started off, Indian cricket industry wasn`t a billion dollar one so people were circumspect about his choice of profession.
"In those days," he recalls, "people would say, `OK you play cricket but what do you do in life?" So he took a job as a railway ticket collector in Kharagpur, a town in West Bengal.
"I played for Central Coalfields Limited and for Indian Airways," he said.
"Those were the years when I improved myself, playing on turf pitches which are rare in India. Today, though, competition is tough in the business world, and it has become a luxury to support young sportsmen," he said.