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Dhoni chooses country over money

Kanpur, Nov 19 (UNI) Team India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni today asserted that playing for national honour holds more appeal for him than turning out for his IPL franchise and he would like to play the first Test against England even at the cost of missing the Champions League final.

If Dhoni's IPL outfit - the Chennai Super Kings - manage to reach the Champions League final on December 10, it could mean that the Indian captain will have to miss the Ahmedabad Test which is scheduled to start the very next day.

However, the 27-year-old from Jharkhand attempted to put an end to the speculation by putting the ball in the BCCI's court.

''I have no information regarding this but for me, country always comes first,'' Dhoni told reporters after the Indian team's practice session ahead of tomorrow'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,'' he added.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had earlier requested its English counterpart to delay the Ahmedabad Test by a day to allow Dhoni sufficient time to fly back from Chennai to Ahmedabad in time for the Test.

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

With the international calendar getting more and more cramped every year, Dhoni stated that it is getting increasingly tough for the players and they would eventually cut down on participation, much like he did in the 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,'' he pointed out.

''Players know their body best and in future more and more player would come out and say that they are going to skip events.'' However, he ruled out suggestions that the cricketers were falling for the lure of money and were taking on more workload than they can handle.

''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,'' Dhoni said.

''Money will keep flowing as long as you play.'' UNI XC AB RKM BD1805

Story first published: Wednesday, November 19, 2008, 18:37 [IST]
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