New Zealand v India, 5th ODI, Wellington January 31, 2014

Dhoni backs faltering batsmen

Crowe: No one did a Sehwag at the top of the order

MS Dhoni has indicated that India will keep the faith in their current group of limited-overs batsmen in whom they have "invested heavily." Dhoni said his batsmen were merely going through a poor phase and hoped they will be up to the challenge of coming out of it, after their failures on successive tours to South Africa and New Zealand. Only Virat Kohli and Dhoni were able to resist New Zealand, with Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Suresh Raina and Ambati Rayudu all yielding poor returns.

"In international cricket you go through this phase," Dhoni said. "Once you make your debut at the international level, the first season you have a very good season. People start to plan about you. That's the time when the tug of war starts, where you try to solve the problems that are created by the opposition and the opposition will look to improve whatever their formula or plan is. So it is a constant tug of war. It has just started I believe."

The last season was fantastic for us but now the opposition will have their plans for all the batsmen and they will keep working on their plans. It will be all about how quickly we adapt and what we need to do to get out of the questions that will be asked by the opposition. I think it is a phase that we are going through. But what will be crucial is what kind of solutions we have got. How we plan to get out of it. How individually we prepare for the challenges."

After the series was lost in Hamilton, Dhoni had said he had little clarity on the fast bowlers he could take with him to the 2015 World Cup. He however stood by his batsmen on whom he said the team had already expended plenty of effort.

"We have invested a lot. As I said after the first season, once you become a settled side the opposition start planning about each and every batsman and that has been the case all over the world. And this is a phase I feel they will all get out of, answering the fresh questions that are asked of them.

"They are talented enough to get out of it. But they will need to put in a lot of effort in the practice sessions and mentally making their plans what they need to do once they go into the game. I am hoping with the kind of talent they have, the amount of games that they have played they will come out of it and that will be a big positive for us."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo