South Africa v India, 2nd Test, Durban, 4th day

Dhoni downplays Kingsmead achievement

Sidharth Monga at Kingsmead

December 29, 2010

Comments: 123 | Text size: A | A

In typical fashion, MS Dhoni has sought to downplay the Durban win, saying this win is as special as ones that came in Kanpur, Eden Gardens or anywhere else. Just one win, he said, neither justifies the team's No. 1 ranking nor earns the respect here in South Africa, where they were doubted and questioned by the media, the former players and the opposition. "Then what about what we have been doing in the last few years?" Dhoni said. "All those wins have an impact on the confidence and morale of the side."

India came to Durban bruised and battered from Centurion, and lost the toss on an overcast morning. But through some sensible batting and bowling, sensational catching, and a couple of lucky breaks when bowling in the first innings, India - through their first win in a Boxing Day Test - levelled the series. In the process, Dhoni joined Mohammad Azharuddin as the second-most successful Indian Test captain. While Azhar got his 14 wins in 47 Tests, Dhoni's side has taken only 23 Tests to get to that mark, which means that Dhoni's success-rate among players who have captained sides for more than 20 Tests is behind only that of Steve Waugh, Don Bradman, and Ricky Ponting.

"It means I've got a good side," Dhoni said of his captaincy record. "What it means is that we've played consistent cricket over a period of time. We started this process around September 2008 and two years hence we're in a position where we can say we have done well in most places. Of course it's a proud moment. As a team, whether it's batting, bowling or fielding, we've done consistently well. We've taken some good catches despite not being a brilliant ground-fielding side. It feels really good that we've done well together.

"There can be a situation where the team is doing well and the captain is labelled as doing a good job. But it's the 16 guys in the squad that have to perform well as a unit. When it comes to the Indian team, it's about how the youngsters coming in contribute as we face a lot of injuries to the fast bowlers and batsmen also. I'm fortunate to have people who are willing to go onto the field and do their best."

Dhoni quickly moved on to talking of another record that he needs to protect in three days' time, that of never having lost a series as a captain. Four years ago, India went to Cape Town 1-1, but lost on a turning track. "We had a brilliant first innings and then a disappointing second innings, because of which we lost that Test," he said. "It's important to be at our best in all three departments."

The confidence of this side - a departure from the ones before Sourav Ganguly and John Wright started taking India ahead - shows in the kind of track Dhoni is expecting in Cape Town. "The greener the better," he said. "Most of our bowlers are skill bowlers. Even if we bowl only 135 to 140k, we are swing bowlers, which means the greener the wicket the better it is because the bowlers can swing it a bit more."

Dhoni was full of praise for the two key protagonists in this win, VVS Laxman and Zaheer Khan. "Hopefully it [Laxman's back] will be okay for the next few years," Dhoni said. "We always count on Laxman. Whenever you see him not scoring in a couple of innings, you know something very special is coming. It was one of those wickets where it was quite tough to convince yourself that you're set because one odd ball may do something and get you out. At the end of the day the 96 runs that he made mattered. It would have been lovely if he got to a hundred, but you don't always get what you want."

The bowling unit's reliance on Zaheer - not necessarily for wickets, but also for the leadership - is a bit of a concern, but Dhoni chose to look at the positives. "The youngsters are getting groomed under Zaheer," he said. "Of course, it's the coach's job to groom all the players but when you have someone like Zaheer it reduces the coach's workload by 50%. Also Zaheer is very good under pressure. He doesn't panic in tough situations, and he convinces bowlers about the fields they should set and the lines and lengths they should bowl."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Posted by AMBH on (January 1, 2011, 15:14 GMT)

@A.Afker Bangladesh no more a underrated team boy.. they white washed NZ but you ppl never did it and we did it with a 2nd string Indian side 5-0 recently this s for ur info on Babgladesh resurgence and our bench strength... more importantly NZ did it against you...;o) see it here http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283240.html

Posted by stevebriggs on (January 1, 2011, 15:03 GMT)

and SL is not test playing nation is it?? lol

Posted by stevebriggs on (January 1, 2011, 15:02 GMT)

SAs are just fast track bully... they cant play cricket on any other pitches..

Posted by Lion_of_Lanka on (January 1, 2011, 9:41 GMT)

From DragonCC in a another article - "no mate seriously we are all happy than India are actually winning a few games, for a change ..i mean after all the manic enthusiasm and the rupees spent on the game, stadiums, effigies[to burn], stones[to throw] we finally have results - india's pathetic showing in the 1990's and early 2000's and of course that insignificant world cup 2007 really made us feel for you guys - so make no mistake my man we are happy you are doing well" - Pretty much sums up what I have to say...

Posted by A.Afker on (January 1, 2011, 6:12 GMT)

@AMBH .IND too lost against BAN (don't forget that).If SL get the Chance to play with SA in SA more often,then SL too win few matches for sure.You are telling IND is the only team where they given any fight to AUS at their peak.Then what about SA even they won the series 2-1 in AUS (Are u forget that?).Further u said Sanga,Dilshan played silly cricket.Don't u forget how Jadeja & Ganguly played with SL (May be u don't know that incidence).Not only that even your crowed behave silly (eg.Eden Garden '96).Pls check who had a better record in ODI with SA(except AUS).

Posted by A.Afker on (January 1, 2011, 4:21 GMT)

@AMBH. IND too loss to BAN (don't forget).But for sure if SL get a chance to play with SA in SA,then SL too can win few matches. Why they are not giving SL to chance?.. SA know the results.Check who is having better one day record with SA?..(except AUS).You are saying IND is the only team give some fight to AUS.Are u forget SA win 2-1 in AUS that too they are in good position?..SL is not playing silly cricket like Jadeja or like a Ganguly (may be u forget those incidence with SL).Not only your team but also your spectators playing/acting silly (eg.Eden Garden '96).

Posted by Lion_of_Lanka on (January 1, 2011, 2:35 GMT)

@Gulshan_Grover: Atleast Sanga, Dilshan, MJ, Mathews, Tharanga (100) performed well in OZ but how much did the great destructive sehwag score in SA? Looks like he only knows how to bat in flat tracks. Pot calling Kettle black. I would find a hobby if I were you.

Posted by stevebriggs on (January 1, 2011, 0:37 GMT)

all of you... We have ruled cricket for 100 years and no body liked it.. now time has changed and Indias got power, money and all and nothing wrong in using them. we have changed the result of games in our time and they can do now! fair play to them.. we should just accept it! don't be jealous and narrow mind... be a man as This is a man's world...

Posted by   on (December 31, 2010, 22:46 GMT)

India came to Durban bruised and battered from Centurion, and lost the toss on an overcast morning. But through some sensible batting and bowling, sensational catching, and a couple of lucky breaks when bowling in the first innings, India - through their first win in a Boxing Day Test - levelled the series. In the process, Dhoni joined Mohammad Azharuddin as the second-most successful Indian Test captain. While Azhar got his 14 wins in 47 Tests, Dhoni's side has taken only 23 Tests to get to that mark, which means .......please ban pakis from this site....that Dhoni's success-rate among players who have captained sides for more than 20 Tests is behind only that of Steve Waugh, Don Bradman, and Ricky Ponting.

Posted by AMBH on (December 31, 2010, 22:06 GMT)

@A.Afker ya PAk won matches in SA i accept because they also had a formidable team for long time.... if going to compare defeats with team ranking... then all teams including auss nz eng sl pak are all beaten by bangladesh... so u(SL) ll accept ur a worst team.. don compare rare results that occur in a 2 decades or so as a topic and don be close minded... can ur team win a match in SA against SA with there current team or can u even draw..? jus answer this.. Indians team always posed threat to every team when they are on top world.. eg. bet 2003 to 2007(auss dominating) only Team India posed fight to win and draw a series against AUSS in australia. so don waste time in arguement.. cheer up ur team(Sl)... and don play silly cricket like randiv dilshan sanga not good for SL future wit this kind of players it doesnt show passion for cric.. Indians always played wit passion and intent to win the cricket by game not by mind games and silly ugly things.. cheeers to indians and all the best

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