Dhoni confident of strong comeback in Test series

MS Dhoni (c) feels that the 10-day break between the second and the third Test would help India prepare better Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Nottingham: Aug 1, 2011

Down 0-2 in the rubber and the numero uno Test status at stake, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that a cramped schedule and lack of rest after the West Indies series were the factors responsible for the visitor’s poor showing in the tour of England so far.

He, however, hoped that with considerable amount of rest before the next Test, India would looking forward to a turnaround in the remaining two matches of the series.

“Somebody said time is of essence here. We came straight from the Caribbean and didn’t have time to play more than one (practice) game. So we are playing seven and not four matches back-to-back,” said Dhoni after India suffered a crushing 319-run defeat at the hands of England in the second Test at Trent Bridge.

“It (this series) is a continuation of the West Indies tour and we haven’t really had a gap. You need to prepare differently (for England tour). In this respect the next 10 days are very important,” he added.

With Virender Sehwag set to join the squad on Tuesday, and Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan likely to be fit for the third Test at Edgbaston on August 10, Dhoni expressed hope of a comeback in the series.

The series so far though has been hard on India, the world’s best Test side, and Dhoni admitted that his famed batting line up need to fire to give the visitors any hope of a turnaround.

“It’s important to score and put runs on the board. We have been slightly lacking in this respect. Even in the West Indies we didn’t score runs consistently. We do need improvement in the batting,” he said.

“In all the three innings, we haven’t been able to see the second new ball through. In conditions such as these, it’s vital. We don’t want our batters from number eight onwards to be exposed to second new ball.”

Dhoni also seemed concerned about his own form in the ongoing series.

“My form is a bit of concern but my preparation and process is alright and when it’s so, you don’t really need to worry. It takes only 15 deliveries to strike form,” he said.

The Indian skipper also said that injuries to key players like, pace spearhead Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag hampered India’s performance in the series so far.

“We missed Zaheer in the middle of the (first) Test and that too in the first innings. We missed Harbhajan in this game. The openers were missing. Conditions really have been tough for us,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni conceded England’s batting runs too deep but believed it could be managed if he has the services of his top four bowlers.

“Their batting runs quite deep. Only (James) Anderson to some extent doesn’t bat. We had them down to 124 for eight in the first innings and yet they were able to score 100 more runs. But if all our four bowlers are playing and are fit, there is no good reason why we can’t get them out,” he said.

Indian batsmen appeared uncomfortable against short-pitched deliveries in the second Test but Dhoni said it was not a big issue.

“It’s not that we haven’t done well against short-pitched balls. Sometimes, individuals get caught up for a while but most of the batsmen are used to short-pitched bowling. It’s not a big concern,” he insisted.

He also disagreed with views that young batsmen of the Indian team are not comfortable against short deliveries.

“You need to give consistent chance to newcomers in Tests. You need to groom talent. Sometimes they come and score a few centuries but you want them to be consistent. It can only happen if you make them play as many games as possible in different conditions,” Dhoni said.