Australia in India 2008-09 October 6, 2008

Seniors striving to live up to own benchmarks - Dhoni

Cricinfo staff

Mahendra Singh Dhoni thinks India's spinners can hurt Australia © AFP

Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said that Indian's senior batsmen - Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman - are under pressure more due to their own high expectations than that of the fans and the media. With age catching up (Laxman, who turns 34 next month, is the youngest of the middle-order veterans) and all four of them in poor form during the recent Test series in Sri Lanka, their places have come under scrutiny.

Dhoni, however, insisted that the seniors still have a lot to offer. "There is more pressure on them because of their own expectation level and because they have set the benchmark so high," he told NDTV. "There is more pressure that comes from within.

"I don't think you can really write them off, they have plenty in them. But at the same time you have to look into the future. It's all about transition, making a respectful last few years in their international career."

He also said that the seniors could still hold their own despite the presence of talented youngsters who are pushing for Test spots. "We definitely have players who are talented and can make it big, but at the same time, it's not really about talent. Their adaptability and preparation matters."

He also said that Australia will find the going tough in the Tests if the pitches assist the spinners. "If it is a normal Indian wicket that starts to turn may be from the tea session [of the first day], then it will be tough for them. They will have to apply themselves to get the runs." Spinners accounted for ten of the 12 Australian wickets that fell during their four-day game against a Board President's XI in Hyderabad last week.