Batting has failed for too long: MSD
Perth, Jan 16: Captain MS Dhoni accepted full responsibility for his team’s poor run as the team slumped to their seventh consecutive overseas defeat, their third this series. The skipper evaluated India’s performance after they lost the Border-Gavaskar Test series to Australia at Perth, explaining his tactics and decisions in the post-match press conference. Although he agreed that youngsters need to be given opportunities, he felt ridding the team of the seniors was not an appropriate course of action.
On being asked to pick the bigger worry between runs and tactics
I think not getting runs more because tactics are something that you [take a call on] on the field depending on the execution of all the players. […] For example, if your bowlers bowl consistently in one line, then you have the option of defending [on one] side of the field and yet have catching fielders to get the mistimed shots. But if you are not consistent [in] line and length, then [with] nine fielders if you want to have catchers in field, gully and the rest of the fielders to defend, it becomes very difficult. That’s what the Australian line-up has taught us, how to be consistent in bowling lines and lengths and ultimately force the batsmen to commit a mistake.
On being asked who was to blame for the poor performance
I need to blame myself. I am the leader of the side. I am the main culprit. I blame myself.
On India’s poor run in overseas Tests
So far, the games that we played in England [and] the three Test matches over here [in Australia], we have not put enough runs on the board. There is only one instance where we have scored over 350-odd runs so that’s something we need to be careful about. You want to [score] [a good] amount of runs so [the bowlers] can look to get the opposition out. One or two bad innings can happen in Test cricket, one odd bowler can bowl really well and he may get the opposition out. But overall, seven Test matches is a bit long for the batting line-up to flop.
On where the team went wrong
As far as I have seen, this is definitely one of the worst phases where we have not done consistently well. […] We haven’t put runs on the board. [In] England because of injuries we had a bit of a setback when it came to the bowling department. […] If you see this particular Test match, apart from that one hour, one-and-a-half hour session where David Warner attacked the bowlers, they didn’t bowl really badly over there. He just went after the bowlers and it became difficult to contain him. But once he got out, we were able to put pressure on the rest of the batsmen who came in and [we] got them out cheaply. Overall, I don’t think bowling is a real worry. […] We have to score at least 300 to 325-odd runs depending on the venue and the wicket which we have not been able to do.
On giving the youngsters a chance
It’s important to have the right mix at the right time. You can’t have all the seniors missing and all the juniors coming in. […] We need to give a bit of exposure to youngsters who come in and at the same time have a fair mix of experienced guys. [In] Test cricket ultimately a lot of people will be tested but if [the seniors] share their experience with the youngsters, the job of the youngsters coming in will become slightly easy. […] If you [put across] questions that you have [to] these experienced guys, it really helps you gain knowledge faster.
On managing players
I feel every man needs to be managed in a different way. There are certain people who you need to go up [to] and get personal to explain what needs to be done and there are those who need to be treated [in another] way. Most of our cricketers have really stepped up when the need has come and we don’t really need to take extreme measures. We need to do well as soon as possible. There will be pressure on everyone. It’s not only the players [but] the support staff also. Most of us are feeling bad about it because at the end of the day we are [not only] professional cricketers but [also] human beings and we all run on emotions, something which is a big part of leading a professional cricketer’s life.
On coach Duncan Fletcher
He is a great guide to have, someone who has got great cricketing knowledge t. He is one of the most experienced coaches around. [The] small, interesting, technical things that he knows about batting and bowling, it’s very crucial to have. It’s not like he has become the coach and we have lost two series so all the blame needs to go to him. Ultimately it’s the players who go in and look to perform. The coaches look to motivate [players] and help them out on certain technical matters. But overall the emphasis is on the eleven players who have got to bowl well and bat.