You don't always want a friendly series - Dhoni
MS Dhoni reckons England might need to change their strategy of verbal intimidation considering it has not actually worked in their favour in the ongoing series in which India have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead.
On the eve of the Mohali one-dayer the England pair of Tim Bresnan and Samit Patel had stressed on the importance of unsettling their opponents with "a little bit of a word or a look or a stare". The planned aggression cost Bresnan 7.5% of his Mohali match fee, after he was found guilty of breaching the ICC's code of conduct by snatching his cap from umpire Sudhir Asnani at the end of the 18th over of the chase. Players from both teams have been involved in a few verbal confrontations and Dhoni said he did not mind a little bit of "chit-chat" as long as long as his players did not step over the line or make personal remarks.
"A bit of chit-chat is fine because it makes things interesting. You don't always want a friendly series. But I think they should change their strategy for the next two games," Dhoni said after the five-wicket victory in Mohali.
Dhoni also did not want to get carried away and term this series victory as "revenge" for the disastrous summer India had endured in England, where they lost the Test and one-day series and the solitary Twenty20 match. "I don't think the word revenge should be used. On the one hand we talk about the spirit of cricket, and on the other hand there's this talk of revenge, which I don't think is right."
In Mohali, India were cruising in the chase before a few quick wickets left Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja 64 to get off 50 balls. Dhoni said he just wanted to bat till the end because he knew the bowlers would eventually feel the pressure. "You always want to stay till the end because you reach a stage where the bowlers and batsmen are under pressure, and then whoever executes better wins. We knew that if Jadeja and I are there in the end then even if we needed 20-25 runs off the last two overs, Twenty20 cricket has taught us that is possible."
Dhoni also pointed out that he would not like to disturb the winning combination and instead would persist with playing their young batsmen at the top of the order because they needed time in the middle. "The youngsters need to be batting 20-25 overs. Once they are more experienced, then we can experiment with batting them lower in the order. Nos. 6 and 7 are difficult places to bat because there's only one or two batsmen behind you so it's better players are only tried there when they have a few games under their belt."
After having been thumped in the first two matches, England gave a better account of themselves in Mohali, but their captain Alastair Cook said that did not make the loss any easier to bear. The match once again threw the spotlight on Jonathan Trott's position in the one-day side. Though Trott scored 98 not out, he took 116 balls to get there and struggled to hit boundaries in the end overs. Cook, though, insisted Trott played his role perfectly.
"Trott played the anchor role and did it nicely," Cook said. "Fifty overs is quite a long time to bat and you need people to bat around him. Three hundred was a decent score and was defendable. Trott's instructions are the same as everyone else's: to play positively and try to get 300. Today we did that and he got 98 at a strike rate of 80-odd, so he did his role."
Cook again highlighted his side's fielding as the most disappointing part of their performance but said the team would still battle in the last two games. "One of the toughest challenges in sport is to lift yourselves when you've already lost a series. But there's still desperation to win."