India v England, 4th Test, Nagpur, 5th day December 17, 2012

Crisis 'nowhere close to 2007 World Cup loss' - Dhoni


India's Test side has not played so badly since 1999-2000 when a whitewash in Australia was followed by a 2-0 home series loss to South Africa. But this defeat to England is not the lowest point MS Dhoni has sunk to as an international cricketer.

After two whitewashes in England and Australia, India have now lost a Test series at home, their last piece of pride in Test cricket, but Dhoni said he has seen worse.

"It has been tough," Dhoni said after the draw in Nagpur that gave the series to England, "But there are not many things that will come close to when we lost the 2007 50-over World Cup. This is not even close to that."

This, he said, was a rebuilding stage. "We are going through a tough time, we are going through a stage where we will have to see what will work for us," Dhoni said. "A few big players for us have left us. Youngsters coming up will have to fill the gap, and seniors will have to take extra responsibility till the juniors start getting runs or start taking wickets."

The quality of spinners coming through has been a big concern. Dhoni said he wouldn't want to judge somebody like Piyush Chawla - who has been averaging 40 and upwards in first-class cricket for the last three years - based on just one match. "It's very difficult if you assess a youngster based on one performance," Dhoni said. "You have to see how they go once they play a few games. They will get the exposure. Not to forget Piyush came after five years so he will feel the nerves. It wasn't a fantastic wicket for him to bowl.

"There was no pace. It's very difficult to deceive the batsman with his wrong'un or the legbreaks. You have to analyse everything. Just don't see the stats - so many overs, so many maidens, so many runs, wicket column empty - and think you have bowled badly. We have seen you get wickets off full tosses or caught at point through a cut. We need to analyse honestly to see if the batsman or the bowler is doing well. It's not only the runs that say the batsman is batting well or five wickets in the bowler's case."

Dhoni spoke of the importance of backing the youngsters. "What you need to see is if you don't give youngsters chances how do you know whether they are good enough or not?" Dhoni said. "You won't get all of them scoring big hundreds in their first game. Some of the big players, they started off with even four or five zeros.

"You have to back youngsters who you think are very talented. Who you think can succeed at the top level. Even if they don't score in a few games, it is important to back them. It's about trying them and giving them a chance to prove themselves. Scoring runs in domestic cricket is not a certain sign they will score at the top level but you have to back them so you know with proper exposure at first-class level and proper backing at international level, at some time they will start scoring."

Dhoni said the batting and pace bowling was the difference between the two sides in this series. "In this series the batting was the department that was lacking," he said. "In the sense we needed to score more runs. Mumbai was a tough wicket, but apart from that we were not able to get into big partnerships.

"In cricket it's not about who is scoring how many runs. It's about between two individuals how big the partnership is. We were not really able to have those big partnerships that can have the big impact, especially when playing in subcontinent."

Dhoni praised Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann, who outbowled his spinners, but he said James Anderson was crucial. "Anderson bowled very well throughout the series on wickets that there was no help for the fast bowler," he said. "That was crucial. He tested the batsmen all the time. In his second or third spell when he started to get reverse and yet the ball was slightly on the harder side. The major difference between the two sides was James Anderson who bowled really well."

Dhoni didn't give any indication about Sachin Tendulkar's future. Asked if we will see Tendulkar again, he said, "I hope so." Has he indicated anything to the captain? "No."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harmon on December 21, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    @Hash_Tag: This isn't an English language forum so don't try to tell me what gloating means. My comments when Eng have lost have purely due to the mismatch between the claims made by the Eng ex players and their teams performance. I do not expect you to have that fine a mind to see the diff between a matter-of-fact laugh and gloating. You seem to suffer from a strong inferiority complex and do not even have a proper identity. You claim you are not English and yet you take their side so strongly even though they have proven to be the weakest of all #1 sides in Tests so far. The defending T20 champs were 80 a.0 in the next and have lost to Ireland and BD in WC, lost 1-6 to Aus and 0-5 to Ind and yet that group shamelessly whirls its #1 rank but somehow you think it is the Ind fan group that has to be the most hated one? Do you even know what its all about? You've never talked to me here before and perhaps never commented but accuse me of being biased and prejudiced. Aren't you biased?

  • Siva on December 19, 2012, 15:22 GMT

    India's absurd performances in recent times is hugely tied to the success of IPL. When you draft pinch hitters who actually don't know when to leave a ball and recruit bowlers who thrive on defensive techniques, into the side, the result will be a sorry state. The 2007 T20 WC win has actually come as a curse in disguise for India. It has clearly commercialized cricket in India and the fan base also has somewhat changed with it - what I mean is they want to see their players starring in every format, even if it means failure at the highest level. Watch this space: Things will only go worse from here for India. They are trying to figure what went wrong all the time, while they just don't have the temperament for test cricket. I have said this over and over, Indian batting line-up is filled with stroke players who want to go after every delivery, including the latest sensation Pujara. A well deserved loss for them, with further slide evident.

  • Omar on December 19, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    @Harmony111. You sir clearly do not know what the word gloating means. Even now you cannot stop yourself from pouring out insults. You flame every page that you have commented on for a long time now. Comments by you and people like you are the primary reasons why we are the most unloved group of cricket fans in the world. Please stop giving us a bad name.

  • Cricinfouser on December 19, 2012, 9:24 GMT

    That Dhoni can even compare a test series loss to a less-than-favourable result in a World Cup limited over competition says it all: he and his team clearly prize 50 over cricket more highly. With that attitude, India will never return to dominate, or even compete seriously, in test cricket, which is sad for all cricket fans. If only Indian cricketers would look honestly at their failings! This is the difference between England and India at the moment: England have had a terrible year, losing heavily in Pakistan in tests, only managing a draw with SL, and after the expected victory over WI, collapsing to the greater might of SA before their captain resigned and the KP row broke out- yet through recognising their failings (eg against spin), and working ceaselessly on them, they have managed to pull off this fantastic victory. Dhoni and co: take a leaf out of England's book!

  • Harmon on December 19, 2012, 8:56 GMT

    @Hash_Tag: I thought you had some grey matter but it seems you have pawned it somewhere.

    It was ENG who made the claim that they will remain #1 for 5-8-10 years and promptly lost to Pak 0-3. It Was Eng who were made to look foolish there thus I laughed.

    It was Eng who were whipped 0-5 in Ind unlike the ODI loss in Eng which was marred by rain and a match was tied. Thus I laughed.

    It was Eng who were #1 when SA came and defeated them 0-2 AT HOME. Ind never lost a series at home when they were #1 and even drew it 1-1 with SA when they went there. Thus I laughed.

    For all the noise made by Eng fans, Eng's stay at #1 was much much shorter than India's stay. So much for the 5-10 years claim. Thus I laughed.

    I have the right to go to any forum and comment there. You are no body to contest that. And I hardly care for what you think of the quality of my comments.

    As for the gloating, I have done none. I never claimed Ind will win 4-0 in Ind vs Eng & have congratulated Eng for the win.

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    @ Sony Srs ...Well said. Dhoni's contribution in the 2007 world cup -0,29,0.That 29 against Bermuda.

  • Dummy4 on December 19, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    to all the indians who degraded the english team earlier this year (against pak) and said that they face another whitewash in india -> BUHAHHAHHAHAHHAHHA

    on a serious note, i agree with many that the main focus of the indians is t20 .. they are not even giving tests a chance. thats y the results. Indians can clearly come a better team if they just focus. they have a lot of talent in their domestic circuit. As a pakistani, just want to say is. its always the media and some of the fans which over-hype and pressurize this team! and Congratulation to the English. They have bounced back fairly well. not just this series. but this whole tour.. pakistan sri lanka india

  • Abraham on December 19, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    For crying out loud,this guy is not even on the same page ! His comparing this defeat to the 2007 WC loss beggars belief. He should never again be selected for Test Cricket, let alone Captaining the Test Side. Could we fall any lower than this ?

  • JIGNESH on December 19, 2012, 3:46 GMT

    @ Vishal Pathak: The fans and the people who praise someone/team, has a prime right to criticize them when they don't perform well. Because if we give respect to someone for his greatness, then we must have rights to take it back when he is not capable of it. For i.e. Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir. Sachin made 236 runs in his last 18 innings of tests, but still doesn't want to retire. Do you think he deserves the respect? He is blocking one batsman's career. India gave an "Arjun" Award to Gautam in 2010 because of his exceptional performance in test cricket. Since his last century in January 2010, he played 47 innings without making a single ton.....comes forward 3-4 steps to take runs at every shot, no matter the ball is inside the first circle or in the hands of fielders. After losing the series, the captain doesn't wanna face the facts that their batsmen and bowlers are not hungry for victory.....some batsmen cannot survive more than 20 balls. Do they really deserve respect?

  • Omar on December 18, 2012, 23:43 GMT

    @Harmony111 - btw I am not English. Do not presume - it highlights and amplifies your prejudices even more.

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