'Receiving ICC Test Championship mace a special feeling'
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday declared that India will play more than four Tests in the coming year and remain the world's number one team in the longest format of cricket for a long time.
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.
Dhoni though said his side will play more than four Tests next year.
"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," he said after receiving the ICC Test Championships mace from Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat in Delhi.
"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," he added.
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," he said.
Image: Dhoni receives the mace from ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat
'India has players who will be considered legends'
The ICC chief said India certainly dominated world cricket in the past 14 months, Tests as well as one-dayers.
"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. It would be fantastic if South Africa and India world's two top teams play each other in February," he added.
"In the ODIs 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.
India is the third team after Australia and South Africa to have 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.
Image: The ICC chief with Dhoni and Virender Sehwag