India in New Zealand 2013-14 January 11, 2014

'Now we know we've got players who can do well anywhere' - Dhoni


'Players have performed in all conditions' - Dhoni

MS Dhoni believes that India's young side has transitioned into a stable unit with the help of sustained exposure at home ahead of a number of overseas trips.

According to Dhoni, the first one, to South Africa, proved that the team had players who could perform in all conditions. As they depart for the second trip, to New Zealand, the India captain said that tackling bounce and generating it were the major challenges facing the batsmen and bowlers respectively.

"The good thing is that though there have been quite a few changes [to the team], before we went for the last tour we got enough time in India," Dhoni said at a press conference in Mumbai, ahead of the team's departure for New Zealand. "Quite a few of them played few Test matches in India and we did well and were confident of their ability. Quite a few people were speculating about how the batsmen will do or how the bowlers will do [in South Africa]. Now we know we have got a set of players who will do well irrespective of where we are playing and that is a big positive.

"As of now, both our [ODI and Test] squads look quite settled, which is a good thing because it's very important to back individuals. If you talk about the batsmen, not all of them have played a lot of Test matches outside the subcontinent. So they will take some time.

"But what we have seen is that almost all of them have played ODIs outside India and still they have performed really well, which gives you the confidence of saying that they have the ability to do well outside the subcontinent when it comes to dealing with pace and bounce. Yes, the red ball does slightly more and for slightly longer periods in Test matches and it's different, but if you have the talent to perform in one format, definitely you have the talent to perform in others too."

For India batsmen who are used to unpredictable and low carry at home, leaving balls on the bounce alone in New Zealand is likely to be a challenge. But Dhoni said that his batsmen had shown in South Africa that they could tackle that test quite well.

"We have a slightly bigger challenge in the sense that ... [even] if the fast bowlers bowl back of a length in India more often than not it is very difficult to leave on the bounce, but when you go outside you know you have the liberty of not only leaving on the line, but also if you judge the bounce and if the wicket has good bounce, you can leave on the bounce.

"This is something you learn over a period of time and I think the batsmen did well in South Africa, they handled good fast bowling and at the same time they were quite positive. There were quite a few things that happened in South Africa that gives us the confidence of saying that we have the talent of doing well anywhere in the world."

Dhoni also said there was healthy competition among his bowlers, with more and more recovering from injuries, and that the challenge for his attack was to squeeze more bite out of drier pitches.

"I think there's more competition when it comes to the bowling department. One year back some of our leading fast bowlers had injuries. Back then we didn't have too many options," he said. "But now with all of them becoming fit and being available for selection and doing well on the domestic circuit, they have enough competition amongst themselves, which is a healthy thing to have."

"There's one particular condition we have to improve on, which is on wickets that are on the drier side and just have a bit of bounce on offer and not too much of seam movement. The reason being, most of our bowlers aren't those who hit the surface. Most of them are those who swing the ball and bowl slightly up to the batsman. At times we encounter wickets that are on the drier side and you have to bang in the ball to get bounce and pace."

In the absence of a seam-bowling allrounder, Dhoni also called for India's specialist spinners to show more patience and build pressure in overseas Tests, pointing to Ravindra Jadeja's performance in the Durban Test as an example.

"One thing that the home team would like to do is to ensure that the wickets don't turn at all. The reason being that we don't have an allrounder. We don't play with five specialist bowlers. Over the years we have lost our part-timers who were as good as specialist bowlers.

"If the ball doesn't spin they [the opposition] can take runs off the spinner, rotate the strike and look to score over three runs an over, and that actually puts the pressure on the captain. You don't want them to score over three-and-a-half runs an over when the spinner is bowling. [Then] you're forced to bring back the fast bowlers and they end up exhausted after the first day workout.

"In that respect, Jaddu's performance was good. Also the spinners will have to accept that when they travel abroad and when they're bowling on the first-day wicket, their role is slightly different. They need to have a bit more patience and not give them runs so that you are also building pressure from one end. They get late turn from the third or fourth days and that's the time they need to go in for the kill.

"When they play more and more games outside India, they'll start accepting the fact that in their first 9-10 over spells in India they might get one-two or more wickets, [but] outside they need to be more patient in their first spell, especially if they are bowling on the first day of the Test match. It's a bit tough on them but till the time we find a seaming allrounder, they'll have to bear that."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ESPN on January 24, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    we have got players who fail repeatedly and still we don't learn and encourage them by giving chances. Players like ishant, rohit, raina, jadeja and dhawan must be asked to play domestic cricket to discover their lost form.. Ishant, rogit and raina must clearly not be selected until they proves themselves honestly.

  • Dummy4 on January 17, 2014, 17:16 GMT

    india no1 ranked team still call them home lion lamb abroad what was it in champions trophy straight win 5 matches the opener match in cardiff dhawan made century then going to westindies winning it give us a break guys wining straight 6 series even mighty aussie didnt do it last year and dont forget they chased above 300 3 times

    form is temporary class is permanent . LOVE YOU TEAM INDIA

  • David on January 17, 2014, 0:35 GMT

    Much talk here about Kallis' last century.. He took 393 minutes to score 113, not a particularly long knock. For some perspective, the record is by Mudassar Nazar - his took 557 minutes.

    Perhaps the most notable, for a host of reasons, was by Sanjay Mandjekar. On 20 & 21 October, 1992 he took 529 minutes to score 104 in Zimbabwe's FIRST EVER test. Zimbabwe fielded John Traicos, who was born in Egypt, & grew up in SA, making his debut against Aus on Feb 5, 1970, playing just 3 tests before SA's sporting isolation.

    22 years and 222 days after his last test, the 45 year old Traicos played in Zimbabwe's first, dismissing such notables as Kapil Dev, Mohammed Azharuddin, & a youngster named Sachin, who was born AFTER Traicos' debut. The 45 year old bested the 20 year old, dismissing him for 0 in 3 balls, while taking 5 for 86 @ econ 1.76. That Econ is no surprise: Sanjay scored 34% of India's runs at SR 24.64. It was his 4th, & LAST century.

    Kallis' last was pretty nifty in comparison!

  • rajesh on January 16, 2014, 9:21 GMT

    @ Shri Vathsan ,,,,,

    Jacques Kallis! This man could have easily beaten Tendulkar's record of test centuries by prolonging his test carrier. Instead he chose to stay with odi's so that SA can win a world cup! ,,,,,,,,,,,( take out the word of easily in your sentence,, kallis is great cricketer no dought but sachin record is a not easy Sachins 45th centurie came in 161st test & kallis 45 centurie came in 166 test 5test aditional than sachins how can you say easily , both came as a bowling all rounder at that time & sachin stick with batsman job & avoding injuries so he did not bowled lot, so less wkts ,if he bowled like kallis in test he could have taken atleast 200 to 250 wkts,--- so dont compare kallis bowling figurs to sachins he did not bowl much thats it ,,,& we INDIANS rating sachin because he played with lot pressure on his own sholder than any one in world ,where kallis played with less pressure than sachin,& sachin is like 1 vs 11 for some years ( not some matches )

  • Naveen on January 16, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    The tour of SA is great learning experience for Indian Team, as several youngsters rose to the challenge and proved their mettle. The likes of Virat , Pujara and Shami have showed the character to succeed in alien conditions. There are still few players who tried but could not succeed should be given few more opportunities.

  • Dummy4 on January 16, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    Of course India play well at home. They play on roads and have good batters. When Indians denounce pace and bounce as being unnatural in terms of pitch conditions, they show what Indian fans have always demonstrated ignorantly... that they care about themselves and Indian cricket, not cricket itself. They think their 'normal' is cricket normal - it is not. NZ will offer proper cricket pitches. Try it sometime India and you will not win everything at home and then make excuses abroad because you find normal to be the opposite of what you are used to. Problem is, then you will win more abroad, but lose some at home that gets you in trouble with your manic fans. So, you have made your bed... time to sleep in it. BMac, Ryder and co. will tuck you in. Sweet dreams.

  • Dummy4 on January 16, 2014, 7:23 GMT

    Harmony111..." It shows that either someone was selfish or poorly skilled". My goodness! What are you talking? You come to say a player of Kallis calibre is poorly skilled? Then what exactly is skill? Jeez! 200 catches,292 wickets,13000 runs doesnt come without skill.

    Selfish huh? Jacques Kallis! This man could have easily beaten Tendulkar's record of test centuries by prolonging his test carrier. Instead he chose to stay with odi's so that SA can win a world cup!

    Just because he has scored at lesser strike rate against a mediocre bowler(by your own admission),it does not mean he is less skillful or selfish.

  • Israr on January 16, 2014, 7:15 GMT

    to all Indian fans who are saying that India has been whitewashed by Aus only once are forgetting that they were also whitewashed by Aus in 200 3-0 ... And in 1992 series also they were whitewashed by Aus 4-0 ...

  • Manoj on January 16, 2014, 2:23 GMT

    @pull_shot: Vilander is absolutely correct. Considering how they bowled against Pak, SL has better quicks than Ind. It was nice to see how they were bowling. I haven't seen such bowling performance from all 3 quicks in An Asian team after Wasim, Waqar, Akthar. Such a great line and length. Good face. Swing in both ways. What you say on hitting by Kohli and Dhoni may be correct because that can happen in anybodys initial matches. They are still young and have played less than 10 test matches.

  • Harmon on January 15, 2014, 20:15 GMT

    @Shri Vathsan:

    One more thing. If you are really keen to talk about what is valid reasoning and what is not then see this ...

    You are yourself arguing that India are not as good a team as SA. You are also arguing that Kallis is doubly talented a player. Agree?

    Then how are you arguing that JUST LIKE INDIA, Kallis too is allowed the same number of failures? If he is twice as good, he should fail half as often.

    Then we see that India were playing away, with little match practice, facing Steyn, Morkel & Philander while Kallis was playing on familiar wickets, on wickets that were much more favorable for batting, was facing a joke of a bowler like Ishant, a 35 yr old bowler & a 2-3 test old rookie then probably Kallis should never ever fail. His first ball duck can be excused as it can happen to anyone but his 36 SR 100 is one of the most preposterous knocks ever played. It shows that either someone was selfish or poorly skilled.