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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

For Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Test comes before Champions League

For Mahendra Singh Dhoni, country always comes before franchise and the Indians captain made it clear on Wednesday that he would like to play the Ahmedabad Test against England even if that means missing the Champions League final.

Provided the Chennai Super Kings reaches the December 10 Champions League final, it could well be a dilemma for Dhoni who is expected to walk out for the toss in the first Test against England starting the next day in Ahmedabad.

The India captain, however, cleared the air himself and said he would prefer the Test match to the Twenty20 summit clash and would go by whatever the cricket board tells him.

"I have no information regarding this but for me, country always comes first," Dhoni said ahead of Thursday's third ODI against England.

"I will go by whatever BCCI decides but in case I have to make a choice, of course I would like to play the Test match," Dhoni said after the Indian team's practice session at the Green Park Stadium here.

To ensure Dhoni's participation in the Champions League final, BCCI requested its English counterpart to delay the Ahmedabad Test by a day, so that the Indian skipper can fly back from Chennai to Ahmedabad just in time to play the Test match.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), however, cited logistics problems and turned down the request.

Asked if that dilemma would remain sort of a distraction for him in the ongoing ODI series against England, Dhoni said, "Actually I have not thought over it. I don't think too ahead and take one game at a time. To be honest, I've not even started thinking about the Test series (against England).

"Dhoni admitted with the cricket calendar getting more crammed every year, players would find it tough and they would eventually cut down on participation, much like he did in recent past.

"I myself opted out of the Test series in Sri Lanka because I needed a break. It's important for a player to decide when he cannot take it anymore. It's getting increasingly tough, especially for the fast bowlers.

Players know their body best and in future more and more player would come out and say that they are going to skip events," he said.

On if the players themselves were falling for the lure of money and agreeing to play cricket more than they should, Dhoni said that was not the case.

"It's not only about money. In fact when you play 10-12 years for India, you earn ample money. You don't need more unless you want to buy a chartered plane or have private airlines. Money will keep flowing as long as you play," he explained.

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