Dhoni admits England tour one of the toughest of his career

MS Dhoni said that the England tour has placed extraordinary demands on the mental faculties of Indian cricketers AFP

By Ashish Shukla

Birmingham: Aug 9, 2011

His injury-ravaged team down in the dumps with back-to-back defeats and some key players experiencing indifferent form, Indian skipper MS Dhoni conceded that the current England Test series is one of the most difficult tours of his career.

“If you consider injuries, fitness, form, everything, there are quite a few things to worry about. It’s difficult to recall (any other) but it’s among the most difficult tour (I’ve been involved in),” he told a press conference ahead of the third Test starting on Wednesday.

The tour has placed extraordinary demands on the mental faculties of Indian cricketers, more so on Dhoni who has been on the road for almost a year and who has the added responsibility of keeping and leading the side.

“More than that, it’s the physical aspect. However, more and more you play, the more experienced to you get to train your mind to get out of it; the measures what needs to be done.

“Of course, it’s not easy… there are different ways for different individuals. Some prefer to have extra nets while others prefer to take mind off cricket. It’s what suits an individual,” he said.

He did not out rightly reject the idea of fielding four medium pacers on a green track at Edgbaston in the third Test.

“The wickets so far haven’t assisted spinners. It pushes us to think if we can play four fast bowlers -the slow over-rate doesn’t bother us, what’s important we select the eleven suited to the track,” said the Indian captain.

India presently have four fit medium-pacers in Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma, Praveen Kumar and Munaf Patel. RP Singh, the replacement for Zaheer Khan, is yet to join the squad which actually restricts the options for the tourists.

The other option of course would be to have either leg-spinner Amit Mishra or left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha make the playing eleven.

Despite opener Virender Sehwag’s failure against Northamptonshire in the warm-up match, Dhoni underlined the value the Delhi dasher brings to the side.

“There is no good reason why he shouldn’t be playing. He is a dynamic player, he backs his instincts to play shots, irrespective of who the bowler he is facing. He looks at the ball and gives it the treatment it deserves.

“He is an aggressive opener who has a big impact on opposition bowlers. He is a very good batsman to have in the side,” he said.

Dhoni expressed concern on how his side failed to capitalise on the good positions between the 45th and 80th over during England’s batting.

“We were in a position we could dominate both the games.

If we get into a similar situation, it’s important we go ahead and put further pressure on their batting which is quite deep.

It’s important how we bowl with the ball between 45-80 overs,” he said.

Reacting to the riots in London and surrounding areas, including Birmingham, Dhoni revealed he was shopping with a few other team-mates at the city centre before they returned and were then planning to leave for dinner when the violence broke out.

“Our security manager, Zaks told us it was better off if we stayed in hotel. It’s sad (the riots), but there is not much we can do as individuals or cricketers.

“There are concerned authorities, as cricketers we even don’t need to have a look at it. We should do what’s in our control and that s preparing for the game. We are avoiding things we can avoid,” he said. (PTI)