MUMBAI India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has mostly played retirement questions with a straight bat in the past, but the 34-year-old opted to go on a playful attack when asked about his future following the hosts' World Twenty20 semi-final defeat.
Undoubtedly India's most successful ever captain, Dhoni stunned all when he announced his decision to quit test cricket in the middle of an Australian tour in 2014, handing over the mantle to Virat Kohli.
So it was not unusual for a journalist to ask Dhoni if he was keen to continue playing after India's seven wicket defeat by West Indies knocked them out of their home tournament on Thursday.
The Indian Twenty20 captain, though, took the surprising step of asking the inquirer to come and sit next to him on stage and discuss the matter.
"You want me to retire?" a grinning Dhoni asked with his arm draped around the nervous-looking journalist.
"No, I don't. I was just asking," the Australian reporter answered.
"Do you think I am unfit, looking at me running?" Dhoni said.
The journalist responded: "No, very fast."
"Do you think I can survive until the 2019 World Cup?" Dhoni asked, referring to the 50-over tournament in England and Wales.
"Sure, yes, sure," came the reply.
"Then you have answered the question," Dhoni said with a big smile while giving the journalist a pat on his back as he quickly left the stage amid laughter from the room.
Dhoni has led India to the World T20, the 50-over World Cup, the Champions Trophy and also the top of the world test rankings.
He said he would have preferred one of his compatriots from the cricket-crazed country to have probed.
"I would have asked whether he has a son who is old enough to play and is a wicketkeeper to play," he said.
"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," he told the journalist, with another smile on his face.
(Editing by Patrick Johnston)
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