Dhoni revels in young guns’ advent
After coping enormous amount of criticism for Team India’s abysmal Test form in the last year and a half, it’s now time for MS Dhoni to enjoy some success. Moments after leading India to a 4-0 series whitewash of Australia in the 2013 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the Indian captain spoke about his key performers in the series and his changing role as leader.
After wrapping up the fourth Test in Delhi in three days, Dhoni was all praise for the young bunch in his team that announced themselves at the Test level.
Here’s an extract from his interaction with the media:
The sweet taste of victory
It was a good series for us and there were plenty of individuals who did really well. Many young batsmen and bowlers got good exposure. In all four Tests I lost the toss, which meant we had to bat fourth each time. And the batsmen batted well in tough conditions.
Gaining from the past defeats
Yes, we had a tough time [losing in England, Australia and then being defeated by England at home] and the fact is that you learn more when you’re going through a rough period as compared to the good times when everything is going your way. I think individuals learnt a lot from the tough period and we were able to implement those lessons in this series.
Hunting in pairs
Before the series we had spoken about the importance of having partnerships while batting. We said we don’t want individuals to score hundreds but need to put a lot of emphasis on partnerships. Ultimately, when the big partnerships are built, individual scores will be achieved. That was one thing we did really well in this series.
Leading the young guns
I’ve had to change a bit as captain. The reason is that the batting line-up has changed completely. With the senior players, they know exactly what’s happening and so you don’t need to be vocal with them. But with the younger guys, you need to keep talking to them and tell them about the things that went wrong and what needs to be done. It’s more about getting these younger guys into the system and cultivate good habits. I may not be around after three-four years but these guys will play for 8-10 years. So, it’s important that they start out with good habits.
The zen from Saurashtra
I’m very impressed with [Cheteshwar] Pujara. He got injured in the first innings and yet he came out to open for us and scored those big runs [82*]. Overall, I’m very happy with the performances, especially of the new guys who just got a chance to play in this series.
The spin spearhead
Ashwin was facing a bit of pressure [after the England series] and it was very important for him to come back in the right frame of mind. However, there was no pressure from inside the team and he just needed to back himself. What was important for him was to have his own plans and strategies and at the same time, going along with the team’s strategies. Being the lead bowler he performed really well in the series. Whenever we needed an important wicket, he was always there. Also, if he didn’t pick one, Jadeja did. Having two or three bowlers who can give us those important breakthroughs at the right time is important.
The rising pace star
Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] gave us three crucial breakthroughs in Mohali. Bhuvnesh is not quick but he bowls at decent pace and gets the ball to swing both ways. I think he’ll be very effective when we play abroad. He has shown in the ODIs that if the conditions are slightly helpful, he can really swing the ball.
A second wind for the coach
Duncan Fletcher has had a tough time, and let’s accept that. But he’s someone who knows about this game really well. His technical knowledge about batting is immense and he’s helping all the youngsters who have come into the side and is grooming them to do well in different conditions. I am very happy for him because before this series he had a tough period with us. This is the best that we have performed under him and we can only improve from here. I’m glad he is around to see this.