Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney January 2, 2012

Premature to write us off - Dhoni


MS Dhoni, captain of the beleaguered Indian side in Australia, has admitted that five straight losses away from home have hit the self-belief of his side a bit, but said that to write them off no-hopers on fast pitches would be premature. Responding to Australia coach Mickey Arthur's comments that his side had dealt India a few psychological blows, he said his side had hoped to make Australia "walk the walk" too.

"That's what you think [that India are not good in testing conditions]," Dhoni said. "If you see the kind of players we have got, that will be a very premature statement to make. What we have seen is, we have always bounced back and the Australian team will have to keep the pressure on the batting line-up and the bowlers. It's just that we have not performed in the first Test, and we'll look to improve in the second."

India's ability to come back from early losses was the hallmark of the side that rose to the No. 1 ranking, but it went missing when under constant pressure in England. Dhoni noted that the big difference from that tour is that all players are fit. He also said it was important not to get bogged down after a poor year in Tests.

"It does affect it [the belief] a bit, but it's not something to get bogged down about because we all know the reasons as to what exactly happened," Dhoni said. "You learn a lot from the mistakes you make so we are looking at the positives. In the last five Test matches abroad that we have lost, we have still had plenty of positives in those particular games."

One of his worries has been Gautam Gambhir's form at the top. "Opening is a very crucial thing for us," he said. "Whenever we have done well, we have relied a lot on the opening pair. We don't really want to put pressure on the opening batsmen, because if you see, [Virender] Sehwag is the kind of batsman who loves to go out there and play his strokes and looks to put pressure on the opposition and in the same way, Gautam equally complements Sehwag because he's someone who takes his time to get in. But if it's in his area, he loves to play his strokes so overall, both the batsmen really complement each other, run really well between the wickets, so it's not a big concern.

"It's always good to leave deliveries because initially it [the Kookaburra ball] does a bit more, and after the first 15 or 20 overs we have seen that it doesn't do the same amount as the new ball does. That's something we're definitely working on, but again, you don't want Virender Sehwag to leave too many balls because he's someone who relishes his cut shot, so if it's in his area he'll play his shots."

Even in Australia, Sachin Tendulkar has hardly gone anywhere without being reminded of the 100th international hundred. Local papers feel it's almost preordained for him to get it during the SCG Test, the 100th at the venue. Dhoni insisted it wasn't putting any extra pressure on Tendulkar.

"Well, he's always close to a milestone," Dhoni said. "If you see his career in the last three years, whatever he has done, somehow he has been very close to a milestone, whether he's playing the most number of ODIs or Test matches or the 100th hundred or all the things. Playing for 21-22 years and being at the top always, it's bound to happen. You'll be overtaking all the records or, if not, there'll be something you're creating, so it's not something that puts pressure on him.

"I don't think he personally thinks about it a lot. Of course, the quicker he achieves it, it will ease off whatever the so-called pressure is on him. He doesn't really talk about it and it never feels as if he's under any sort of pressure when it comes to scoring the 100th hundred."

Dhoni said the back-to-back Tests didn't bother him. "Personally, I've been a big fan of less gaps between games because that helps to keep you glued to the cricket and to see exactly what's happening . I think we've still got enough time between Test matches."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • JIGNESH on January 5, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    @ Chetan Asher, well said! Your comment is that truth what is bitter but truth. Mr. Cool really became cold now. Sehwag is a gamble. Dravid is wall behind stumps. Awesome writing! Great to read all those facts.

  • CLARK on January 4, 2012, 18:37 GMT

    Can we write you off now, MSD? give me a break. stop making excuses and put your cricketing skills to work. I am embarassed to see this tour the way its going.

  • Bhran on January 3, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    @Alexk400 : Atleast sachin scored some some 41 runs Comfortably , How do u know sachin is playing for his record, let it be he is scoring something rt and it benefits the team as well. Dont always pull sachin's leg for everything, What these GAMBHIR, KOHLI, VVS , DRAVID ( in this series) doing. Gambhir and kohli hav to play only in our flat track. If SRT & Dravid retire thats it, india ll be a minnow in test.

  • Senthil on January 3, 2012, 4:22 GMT

    After watching the way the Indians play at SCG, I think another white wash will be round the corner. Send Gambir home and take some one like Pujara and rohit can also brought in place of Laxman. Anyway India will loose. Sorry India

  • Aditya on January 3, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    premature, eh?! its already 178/8 at tea - another whitewash guaranteed!

  • Alex on January 3, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    I think we need one leaver type opening batsman. Who can play as many balls. That way ball gets old. At present no one staying at the crease. Aussies are picking up one by one. Plan and executing for each target. Clarke made a mistake by going with spinner. if he had 4 fast bowler , game would be over by now. if dhoni can get the score 300 we can give a fight. I doubt it but i can hope. Can i? :)

  • Andrew on January 3, 2012, 3:27 GMT

    Way too early to write India off - but @ 6/124, India are almost gone. Will the captain stand up. Who's to say though that India can't get a 1st innings lead? (NZ did in Hobart!)

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2012, 2:32 GMT

    India will win if somehow we can convince them that they are playing Pakistan instead of Australia.

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2012, 1:34 GMT

    after watching the game uptill the lunch sessions i think we can write off the indian team..

  • Dummy4 on January 3, 2012, 0:44 GMT

    To all the ppl who comment without knowing the facts,plz do some stat references before commenting something. Sri Lanka have won 9 Tests (SA 1, Eng 2, NZ 2, WI 1, Zim 3) outside subcontinent out of 59 with a 15.25%. For India its 25 out of 176 (14.28%). Pakistan has the highest win% for a subcontinent team winning 37 out of 150 (24.67%). If you want to get rid of Zimbabwe from the equation, here are the stats. Sri Lanka 6/51 (11.76%), India 22/170 (12.94%) and Pakistan 31/142 (21.83%). Clearly Pakistan is the best Subcontinent team when playing outside of Asia. There is no big difference between India and Sri Lanka in win percentage. Yes. India have won more matches than Sri Lanka (16 more), but played a lot more matches too (117 more). India playing Test Cricket for 79 year yet they have won 25 outside Asia. only 0.31 per year. Sri Lanka playing for just 29 years and won 9 which is 0.31 per year which is the same as India. For Pakistan 59 years 37 matches, which is 0.62 per year.

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