Dhoni receives Test Championship mace

New Delhi: Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni received the Test Championship mace from ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat after leading his team to the pinnacle of ICC Test rankings.

“It is a special feeling to receive this mace. I am taking this on behalf of the team and BCCI. Being an Indian it is a proud moment. We have really worked hard as a team in the last 14 months to get to this position. We want to remain here longer and everything depends on our performance,” said the Indian skipper.

India is the third team after Australia and South Africa to become the number Test side, after their 2-0 series victory over Sri Lanka early this month.

Dhoni refused to compare India’s numero uno status in Test with their inaugural Twenty20 World Cup triumph.

“I don’t believe in comparisons. But T20 triumph was about a tournament. If players are in form in a tournament you can win it. But in Test Championships you play consistently well for a period of time in a tough competition and you reach the top.

It is special as we reached the top from a lower position. Our priority now in the coming months is to prove we are capable of staying on top as we are at reaching it,” Dhoni said.

The ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat hailed the achievements of Indian cricketers in the recent past and said the team deserved to be on the top with such talented players.

“In the last 14 months India has been dominating the world. In October 2008 India was ranked third in ICC Test Championships and in the last 14 months has risen to number one.

“In the ODI also, India is now ranked number two. Then you have Gautam Gambhir at the top of ICC Test batsmen ranking while Dhoni is on top in ODI chart. Dhoni is the ICC ODI player of the year for two consecutive years and chosen captain of both the ICC Test and ODI teams of the year.

“Then you have Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid who have immensely contributed to this transition. It reflects on the talent you can boast of. India has players who after a few years will be considered as legends of the game,” Lorgat said.

There have been questions whether India will manage to hold on to their Test crown with a limited number of five-day matches in their itinerary.

India are scheduled to play only two Tests, against Bangladesh in January in the next 11 months and a proposal to include two Tests in South Africa’s tour to the country in February is being considered by the two boards.

Skipper Dhoni assured that India will play more Test cricket in the coming year than the schedule showed.

“Quite a few Test matches are on proposal and I don’t think that we will play only four Tests next year. We will play more than that,” said Dhoni.

Lorgat, on his part, said he would be happy if the South African and Indian Cricket Boards can work out on having the two Tests in February.

“Under FTP two countries will have to work out their bilateral series in four or six years time. It is up to them when to visit each other considering their interest. I would be happy if the proposal for inclusion of the two Tests in February is through. India deserved to be a Test number one side.”

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