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Dhoni laughs off retirement talk after World T20 exit

MUMBAI: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni laughed off talk of retirement as he put a brave face on the devastating World Twenty20 semi-final loss to the West Indies.

The hosts came into the tournament with sky-high confidence but also widespread speculation that it could be the last international outing for Dhoni, 34.

But after India’s stunning defeat by seven wickets, it was left to an Australian journalist to put the burning question to Dhoni at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.

Dhoni then asked the somewhat stunned Sam Ferris of the cricket.com.au website onto the dais, put his arm around him, and turned the tables by becoming the interviewer.

“Do you want me to retire?” he said. “Do you think I am unfit, looking at my running? Do you think I can survive until the 2019 World Cup?”

When Ferris replied that Dhoni indeed looked more than capable of staying in shape until the next 50-over World Cup, a laughing Dhoni then responded: “Then you have answered the question.”

“I wished it was an Indian media guy because I would have asked him if he had a son old enough, and a wicketkeeper, to play!” he said.

The light-hearted exchange came at the end of a painful loss for the wicketkeeper-batsman’s team who had been red-hot favourites to win the trophy on home soil.

After India had scored a slightly below-par total of 192 for two in their 20 overs, the West Indies’ run chase got off to a terrible start when Chris Gayle was bowled for just five.

But first Johnson Charles and then Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell started thrashing the Indian bowlers around the ground as they struggled to make the ball grip in heavy dew.

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