Keep faith in the team: Dhoni
Nagpur, Dec 12: MS Dhoni is going through his most challenging phase as India’s captain. After suffering the ignominy of 4-0 whitewashes in England and Australia, he has led the team in two consecutive Test defeats at home against England. But even as swords are being sharpened and vying his head, the Indian captain maintains his calm demeanour.
“When it comes to Indian cricket every little thing is viewed under the microscope and everyone has an opinion,” he said. “Everyone has the same questions that even we are looking the answers of. But nobody comes up with a solution. That’s the brilliant part of it.
“That’s how it is in India. After the result, there are a lot of questions we face – why someone wasn’t picked or not given the new ball, etc. As Indian cricketers, we know that we will be under the scanner throughout our lives,” Dhoni said ahead of the fourth Test of the series in Nagpur.
In defence of his players who have not been at their best in the series, the captain said it was unfair to write them off on the basis of two Tests. “Everyone knew that this phase will come in Indian cricket when the big players will move on, the pressure will be on the youngsters and we may go through a rough patch.
“We have struggled in the last two Test matches and such big questions should not be asked on the basis of just two bad performances. You have to be consistent and have faith on the players. People who have done so much for Indian cricket over the years should not be questioned based on a series or half a season,” Dhoni urged.
As he leads the team on the field at the VCA Stadium on December 13, Dhoni will walk in with the onus of protecting India’s 28-year-old record of being undefeated at home against England. Dhoni draws inspiration and strength to overcome this situation from the first Test in which he led Team India.
“We were faced by a similar situation when we were down in the home series against South Africa (in 2009) and then went on to win the last Test in Kanpur,” he reminisced. “Very rarely do you come across such tough situations and it’s times like this that show the real character of a man and a team. In a way, it’s good that we have no option but to do well in this game.”
If India are to turn the tables on England and salvage the series, they need to go out with a positive attitude. And the Indian skipper believes that despite the losses, the team is closely knit.
“The spirit in the dressing room is really good and that’s something that we’ve maintained. During tough times like this, the only people who will support you and who need your support are the team members including the support staff. We have ensured we remain the close unit. The good thing is that we’re still enjoying our cricket, which, sometimes you don’t do when you’re going through a bad patch,” the Indian captain said.
India have taken a bold decision to go in such a crucial Test with a bowling attack, the most experienced member of which is Ishant Sharma. While acknowledging the absence of Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh, Dhoni assured this was the right way to go.
“Glenn McGrath was a legend but even he began from game one. You never know, who will turn out to be a great bowler for India in the future. We should have faith in them. Yes, we are missing out on some of the experienced players but what the series is demanding right now is that we include a few young players so that the overall strength of the team improves,” he said.
With Zaheer, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan left out of the last Test, voices demanding Gautam Gambhir’s exit have also gained momentum. However, the skipper showed that he has unflinching faith in his opener.
“I have played a lot with Gautam and the best thing that I like about him is that he is an aggressive character,” Dhoni said. “Often being aggressive is seen as stepping out and hitting the ball but it is also about positively defending the ball. In the last few games he has batted really well and has taken time at the wicket. There’s a lot of improvement in his batting and this is an ideal set-up for him. This is a very important game and he is a big-game player. He has it in him to translate the starts into big scores. It is taking time but I’m very hopeful that he will get us a good one.”