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By Arunabha Sengupta
Nottingham: July 8, 2014
India captain MS Dhoni said that his aim was to steer the team in the right direction despite facing criticism. India play England in the first Test of a five-match series in Nottingham starting from July 9, 2014. According to Dhoni, whether the team wins or loses, it is a process more than the result which matters. It is always a journey to take the team to the next level.
The Indian captain refused to look at the losses in South Africa and New Zealand as negatives. “We may have lost both the series, but the team played very well,” Dhoni said in a pre-match press conference.
When told that the team had not been able to close potential winning positions in the recent tours, Dhoni said that to win cricket matches, one had to depend upon some amount of luck. “There may be a few edges that goes past the fielders,” quipped Dhoni.
“What mattered was the bowlers bowled their hearts out even on the third or fourth day of a gruelling Test match.The team is talented and willing to win.”
When asked about England’s current tale of woes, Dhoni said that any team could go through a lean trot. Even the mighty West Indies did after their dominance for years. “It may be established players leaving or major players not in form.” He said that there was plenty of talent in the England side and it was only a matter of time before they started doing well again.
Dhoni did not expect the luxury of playing two tweakers. “We won’t get wickets that turn. In the five Tests there may be one in which we may get one wicket for two spinners. And then it may not turn. We have no confusion in that regard.”
Asked whether the team would experiment with a five-bowler strategy, Dhoni said that it would be the ideal scenario but to do that one had to have the seaming all-rounder while playing outside the subcontinent. He later hinted that down the line, Stuart Binny could start to assume the role.
Rahul Dravid’s engagement as a consultant was also a positive according to Dhoni. “The players have always been comfortable with him.” he said. He added that he was not in favour of making a lot of changes to the techniques of the players, but the team was benefiting from Dravid’s experience, in learning the secrets of adapting to the conditions.
When asked about the incredible amount of criticism he had to face, Dhoni joked that one way of dealing with it was to stop watching television and reading the news papers. “The key thing is to ignore all that and take the team in the right direction.”
(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twiter.com/senantix)
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