Dhoni feels blessed to lead a squad of supremely talented players

Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that talented players around him makes it easier for him to lead the national side AFP

By Paul Mitchell

Bridgetown (Barbados): Jun 28, 2011

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said that he is blessed to have a good squad of players around him, making it easier for him to lead the national side.

Dhoni became India’s second most successful Test captain, winning his 15th match in the first Test by 63 runs at Sabina Park in Jamaica to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

“I am fortunate to have a good Indian team, irrespective of whether I am leading the (national) team in any format, or when it comes to IPL or Champions League,” he said.

“It is important that how the 15 you are leading, how they respond to your strategy, and how they adapt themselves to the kind of strategies that a captain has got.

“That way I have been very fortunate to have players who have given more than 100 per cent on the field, which I always emphasise.

“They have also got a point that it is not always about winning. What is important to do the basics right and do well.”

In this regard, Dhoni is looking to create a bit more history, and become the first Indian captain to win a Test and One-day International series in the Caribbean.

He will however, have to overcome the visitors’ poor record at the ground, where they have lost their last five Tests since a draw in 1971.

“We will try to do something that has not been done,” he said.

“I will say the same things again. We will stick to the basics. We practised quite hard.

“Whichever areas are there where we need to improve and put in a little extra effort, we have backed up those areas.”

India are toying with the idea of changing their winning line-up, bringing medium-fast bowler Munaf Patel in to replace leg-spinner Amit Mishra, and hoping that he will be able to exploit the hard, bouncy pitch.

“We’ll see how the pitch is before the start of the game, but 3-1 (three fast bowlers and a spinner) doesn’t look like a bad option to be honest,” said Dhoni.

“The pacers’ role will be important.

“But adapting to these conditions is the key. It’s believed that compared to other pitches, this one has more bounce, so you have to bowl a fuller length if you want to get a batsman out, especially if you want to get him lbw or bowled.

“So the length will be crucial and the bowlers who will adapt quicker will get more wickets compared to others.”

Dhoni said his side had not left any stone unturned in their preparation, but he would like for them to keep things tight whatever the situation in the game.

“Each and every department right from batting, bowling, fielding, catching, everything,” he said.

“Because it’s a longer format, and you don’t want to make any errors on the field.”

Dhoni needs 59 for 3,000 Test runs, but he hailed champion off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, who needs four wickets for 400 Test wickets.

“I had no clue about (my milestone),” he said. “Hopefully I will get the runs because in cricket you never know how much you will score.”

“I think there are a couple of milestones for (Harbhajan). He is closing in on 100 Test matches as well. He has been the pick of our bowlers. He leads the spinning department and is doing really well.

“You can expect a lot of character from him not only in the bowling department, but also in the lower-order batting department with his contributions.

“He is a very good character to have in the side – an aggressive character. Whenever you need a breakthrough, or need someone to be aggressive on the field, you will always find Harbhajan very eager to go after the opposition.”