India and Australia have had a go at each other through the series © Getty Images
India and Australia have had a go at each other through the series © Getty Images

Melbourne: Dec 25, 2014

Skipper MS Dhoni said on Thursday that sledging had nothing to do with India‘s losing performance in the series against Australia and he encouraged more of it in this week’s third Test in Melbourne. Dhoni said he saw nothing wrong with sledging despite India coming off second best in their efforts to distract Mitchell Johnson during last week’s second Test in Brisbane. Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma fired up Johnson in Brisbane with the explosive paceman slugging 88 off 93 balls with 13 fours and one six, and shared in a ground record 148 runs with Steven Smith for the seventh wicket to turn around Australia’s first innings.

Johnson followed up his game-changing knock with a dynamic spell of fast bowling capturing three for 10 in the space of 11 balls to rip the heart out of India’s top order in the second innings to set Australia up for victory and a 2-0 lead in the series. India must win Friday’s third Test in Melbourne to keep alive the four-match series to the final Test in Sydney in the New Year. Former captain Sunil Gavaskar said the tourists should tone down their “verbal spats” in the series, but Dhoni confirmed that won’t be happening.

“I feel a bit of chirping is good on the field,” Dhoni told reporters. “That’s what makes cricket interesting… if the guidelines are followed, I’m not really bothered. The chirping has nothing to do with our performance.”

Aggressive Australia opening batsman David Warner has already said that he won’t be toning down his “banter” in the Boxing Day Test. “I like to go at them, to try and get them to bite back at me when I go out there and bat. At the moment, it’s working,” Warner said. Warner swapped barbs with India en route to a century in Adelaide after being bowled off a no-ball and was fined by the ICC along with India duo Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli for bust-ups during the stormy first Adelaide Test.

“Blokes like Davey like to say a fair bit. Everyone’s different. I don’t really say too much,” skipper Steve Smith said Thursday. “At the moment the Indians are doing that themselves. They’re doing a lot of whingeing and complaining among themselves. They’re doing it all for us. Hopefully that can hinder them this week.”

Dhoni also dismissed reports that Kohli and Dhawan had to be separated by team director Ravi Shastri during the Gabba Test. Dhawan retired hurt after being struck on the arm while batting in the nets prior to day four in Brisbane. Kohli was also struck by a short ball, but batted in place of Dhawan. Kohli lasted 11 balls, with an Indian newspaper reporting he blamed Dhawan for the dismissal and accused his teammate of feigning injury in a heated confrontation.

“If somebody from the team has actually told you this, it’d be interesting if you could give us the name,” Dhoni told reporters. “Because his imagination is really brilliant and he should be working for one of the movie companies. He doesn’t deserve to be in our dressing room, because he has entirely created something that has not been there at all. As far as the reality is concerned, there’s been nothing like that.”