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Dhoni willing to step down as captain

MS Dhoni is waiting to hand over the captaincy reins to a suitable replacement. (SUPPLIED)

By Agencies

India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni says is willing to step down as captain if a suitable replacement is found.

"Captaincy is an additional responsibility that I enjoy. If the selectors feel the need to replace me the I will be happy to step aside," said India's World Cup winning skipper speaking in Sydney ahead of their first T20 game against Australia.

There has been calls for his removal as captain after India slumped to their eighth consecutive Test loss last week in Australia.

Although reports of a mutiny within the team has been denied, the Indian cricket board is considering appointing dashing opener Virender Sehwag as Test captain.

Sehwag led India in the final Adelaide Test after Dhoni was handed a one-match ban for slow over-rate.

Following India's loss in the Perth Test, under Dhoni's captaincy, India have lost seven consecutive Tests on foreign soil, four of them by an innings and the rest by margins of 196, 319 and 122 runs.

After 67 Tests and 3,509 runs, many cricket critics now say that Dhoni barely merits a place in the team any more.

"The need is to find a new captain from beneath the wreckage. Dhoni is no longer the answer in Test cricket," former Australian skipper Ian Chappell had written in one of his columns for an Indian daily a week ago.

"He has failed dismally to rally the troops in two disastrous overseas campaigns and his own form, not just with the gloves but also with the bat, no longer warrants a guaranteed place in the Test side."

Dhoni made 220 runs in four Tests in England last year at an average of 31.40 and managed just 102 runs in three matches in Australia at 20.40.

Ex-captains Kapil Dev and Sourav Ganguly have gone on record to say they feel Dhoni needs a quick turnaround to secure his place as Test skipper, while stressing his position at the helm in one-day cricket is not in doubt.

Batting great Sunil Gavaskar, however, supports Dhoni's retention as Test captain - but only because there is no suitable replacement.

"At the moment, I can't think of anyone who is good enough to take over from Dhoni," Gavaskar told NDTV.

Dhoni enjoyed a dream run as captain before the current crisis came along.

He was named skipper in 2007 when senior players such as then-captain Rahul Dravid, Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar declined to play in the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa.

Dhoni marshalled his inexperienced side to beat great rivals Pakistan in the final in Johannesburg, sparking a Twenty20 revolution in India that led to the creation of the lucrative Indian Premier League a year later.

He was unbeaten in his first 11 Tests as captain, winning eight with three draws. He has now led India in 37 Tests with a creditable record of 17 wins, 10 losses and as many draws.