New Delhi: India lost to West Indies by seven wickets in the second semi-final of 2016 ICC World Twenty20 on Thursday, and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was understandably miffed.
But at the same time, the skipper was prepared, in advance, for that 'nagging question' about his retirement. The 34-year-old knew that the question will be posed again, no matter where and when.
But in the post-match press conference, the question unexpectedly came from an Australian journalists. And he, knowingly or unknowingly, had saved one of his Indian counterparts by asking the question himself.
Because, Dhoni was in no mood to talk his retirement. He already had enough of it.
The traveling scribe shared his experience with the most successful Indian skipper in his own write-up for cricket.com.au.
He asked Dhoni, "You have achieved virtually everything that a cricketer could. Are you keen to continue playing on?"
He didn't really mentioned the 'retirement' word, but probing Dhoni's 'keenness' to play cricket was indeed a bad choice, of word and intention. It's been widely reported that some section of Indian press are hounding Dhoni by asking the same question again and again.
The Aussie journalists was aware of this fact too, and was expecting someone to ask the same question again. But “the question still had not been asked” when his turn rolled around, and he "went for it."
In response, he got an invitation to share the dais with "India's greatest-ever captain" and was treated to a lifetime of an experience.
That's when the interviewer turned the interviewee.
Dhoni started with "You want me to retire?"
Luckily for him, Dhoni somehow change the course and said "I was hoping it was an Indian media guy because I can't really say if you have a brother or a son who can play for India as a keeper."
It sure expressed his intention. He was not taking that question again, especially after exiting the World T20 at home, at the same stadium where he hit the winning six to claim the 2011 50-over World Cup.
Some of the interesting questions that Dhoni asked were pertaining to his fitness, longevity and the probability of him playing the 2019 World Cup.
Then, the seriousness of the issue seemed to have pestered even the coolest of captains.
"I wish it was an Indian media guy because I would have asked whether he has a son who is old enough to play and is a wicketkeeper to play. He would have said 'no' then I would have said maybe a brother who can play and who is a wicketkeeper. You fired the wrong ammunition at the wrong time," Dhoni added.
The Aussie scribe admitted that he "fired the wrong ammunition" but seemed contented to take "a bullet for my Indian colleagues".
That's how it ended. Luckily, no casualty.
And possibly, it was the best ever role-play performed by any player, let alone one of the most respected leaders of men.