MS Dhoni feels staying away from criticism helped him perform better

MS Dhoni scored his maiden double century in Tests against Australia at Chennai © PTI

Chennai: Feb 26, 2013

Under attack till very recently for India’s dismal shows, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni reckons that keeping himself shut off from all the criticism that came his way has helped him concentrate on his performance.

Dhoni, who smashed a game-changing 224 to play a big part in India’s eight-wicket victory in the first Test against Australia, said he had not changed his playing style despite the criticism.

Asked about the pressure on him due to recent failures of the Indian team and effect of criticism on his performance, Dhoni said he mostly tried to keep himself aloof.

“What really matters is the job I’m trying to do. The best thing I’ve done so far is to not watch news or read newspapers, so that has really helped, frankly,” Dhoni said at the post-match press conference.

“It’s not that I do not read newspapers, it’s just that the third page from the back is always the sports page, so you try to get rid of that. Otherwise you don’t get to know what’s happening in India,” said Dhoni.

He said he has not changed a bit in his playing style, despite all the criticism that have come his way.

“Nothing has changed. Whatever is your speciality remains your speciality. Nothing has changed,” he said.

Dhoni attributed the Test win to team effort and said it was all about executing the plans.

“I think a lot of credit goes to batsmen number three, four and five because they played long innings. Ok, Sachin Tendulkar did not get a 100 or Pujara did not get a big 50, but still they played for a considerable period of time,” said Dhoni.

“The humidity over here, you know Chennai gets quite humid so it helps in getting the opposition bowlers tired. And it was important that we batted for four sessions. We were able to bat for more than four sessions. Overall it was a very good effort both by bowlers and batsmen,” he said.

Dhoni disclosed that he batted according to a plan to play some big shots initially so that the extra-catching fielder near him was removed.

“This Test was evenly poised when I came in and Nathan Lyon was bowling well. So, it was important to play a few big shots so that you could get rid of that extra catching fielder from near you,” Dhoni said.

“So that if you misread a flighted delivery, or go back to a ball pitched slightly up, you don’t have that one extra fielder to catch that inside edge or a bat-pad. It worked well,” he said.

Asked if missing out on a hundred in Nagpur in his previous Test had played on his mind in this match, Dhoni said, “I have got five 90s, so it doesn’t weight any more.

Seriously, I’ve got out in the 90s plenty of times. I personally believe it’s the top six batsmen, OK I’m batting at six now, but they’re the ones who really worry about the 100s.

“It’s the weightage of the innings, I’ve never thought about 100s. I remember the 92 I scored at the Oval in 2007.

Dilip Vengsarkar was there and he said whether I would do different. I said no, I would bat the same way, and if I get a chance to hit, I would hit. So nothing much has changed,” said Dhoni.