Bangladesh v India, 2nd Test, Mirpur January 23, 2010

Bangladesh need to bat for longer periods - Dhoni

MS Dhoni, returning as captain for the second Test, has said that Bangladesh cannot be taken lightly but that they have to learn to play better during the tough periods to do well in Test cricket.

It was yet another press conference where questions were raised about whether Bangladesh were capable of taking 20 wickets and about their capabilities as a Test team. No one mentioned Virender Sehwag, but his views were raised. When asked if Bangladesh could take 20 wickets, Dhoni replied: "That's why they are playing Test matches. They are expected to take 20 wickets. You can't take any team lightly. At the end of the day, ten good balls can do the damage. But it's about creating pressure."

Sehwag had earlier said that "Bangladesh are an ordinary side " and it has been a recurring theme in all the press conferences that have followed. Dhoni was first asked what he thought about Bangladesh's performance in the Chittagong Test. He however disagreed that all three results were possible at the end of the fourth day.

"After the fourth day there was only one way the match could have gone," Dhoni said. "I am not exaggerating; anyone who follows cricket will know what result was possible. But as an international side, you are expected to do well and they did reasonably well."

The local papers reported that the president of the Bangladesh Cricket Board had questioned the Bangladesh players' commitment after the first Test. Dhoni was asked for his opinion on the commitment issue and he replied: "I don't think there is a lack of commitment. It was a lack of application. One-day cricket is about aggression and flair but Test cricket is a different ball game. One has to struggle through the hard periods initially and then look on to get a respectable score on the board. There are some batsmen in sides who look to play their shots but it's about the long three-four hours of toil in the wicket that sets up a good score. They would get better and better if they play more Tests."

Asked whether he thought Bangladesh could win he said, " That's why they are playing. If there is no hope, there is no point playing Test matches. But they have to really play well to do so. In Test matches, you have to play consistent cricket for a period of time."

Dhoni also spoke about the weight of expectations on being the No.1 side. "There are obviously expectations from you when you are No.1, that you need to win this way, but I am not a man who likes to make statements. I like to make statements on the field. I am a practical guy. Yes we did not do that well in the first innings in the last Test, but the way we came back was good and that's what is expected. It was a decent start but we can put up a better performance than that."

Sriram Veera is a staff writer at Cricinfo