MS Dhoni lauds team after 4-0 drubbing against Australia

MS Dhoni said his team showed great character to come out with flying colours during a tough phase for Indian cricket © AFP

New Delhi: Mar 24, 2013

Indian captain MS Dhoni praised his team for a 4-0 series whitewash against Australia on Sunday, saying every player showed character to come out with flying colours of what has been a tough phase for Indian cricket in the last one-and-a-half-years.

“It is a big boost to win 4-0 with this unit. Credit goes to every one. The last one and a half years has not been great for us in Tests, but they showed a lot of character, put in good performance and battled it out,” Dhoni said at the post match presentation ceremony.

“You need to battle it out and that was the case in this series,” he added.

India suffered a series whitewash against both England and Australia last year, before they went down to England 1-2 once again at their own backyard.

India, however, got their act together to complete a historic 4-0 clean sweep against Australia by recording an emphatic six-wicket victory in the fourth and final cricket Test at Delhi, and Dhoni felt it was an important series from the team’s point of view.

“I think it was an important series for us, there were a few changes in the side. It was up to the individuals to rise up and do well. I think they all did it, everybody performed.”

The captain said the fact that India batted second in every Test on the series but still managed to come out victorious, says a lot about the current side.

“Almost all the pitches were turning, and on all the wickets we batted second, which meant we had to face the (Aussie) bowlers in the fourth innings, we all know how difficult that is,” said Dhoni.

He said the Kotla wicket was slightly better today as compared to yesterday.

“This wicket I thought it got slightly better…I may be wrong, but I thought yesterday was harder to bat on. The new ball did not turn as much,” he said.

A satisfied Dhoni said the team would enjoy a little time off before regrouping for the Champions Trophy in June.

“We get some time off now — no international cricket — and can regroup before the Champions Trophy.”

Man of the Series, Ravichandran Ashwin, who emerged as the highest wicket-taker in the four-Test rubber with 29 scalps, said he made a few changes in his bowling technique after the home series against England.

“Everything has gone pretty well, there were a few changes I had to make after the England series. Very happy at how it has come out. I had to work on my delivery stride. We had very little time, I was lucky to have a coach to identify it pretty quickly. I definitely needed a kick on the backside and they gave me one,” said Ashwin.

Talking about the Kotla pitch, Ashwin said, “It was quite a tricky wicket for both batsmen and bowlers. I thought [Cheteshwar] Pujara played a terrific innings today.[Ravindra] Jadeja managed to trouble the Aussie batsmen. “

Asked if he was satisfied with his performance in this series, Ashwin replied, “Satisfaction is not something intend to attain, hopefully I can build on this.”

Jadeja, who won the Man of the Match award, said he was just looking to take as many wickets as possible.

“I did well in this game. The wicket helped the spinners so I was bowling well. Just wanted to get as many as possible.

“Unfortunately, I didn’t score much runs with the bat, but I bowled well in the series. I’m used to playing on such wickets in Rajkot. I was bowling in the right areas and the rest the wicket was doing,” Jadeja, who claimed seven wickets in the fourth Test and score valuable 43 runs in India’s first innings, said. .

 Meanwhile, Australian stand-in-skipper Shane Watson said 150-200 on this track was a good total but his bowlers failed to do the job.

“It was a hard fought Test, going into the game this is what I asked of the team. We gave it everything we had. We were up for it, but unfortunately things did not go according to plan with the ball in the second innings.

“We always thought 150-200 on this wicket if we bowled well was going to be enough but we just did not bowl as well as we would have wanted to,” said Watson.

He conceded that Pujara took the game away from the visitors.

“Pujara batted very nicely to take it away from us,” he said.

Watson said that it was a great learning curve for an inexperienced Aussie side.

“This is really as foreign as you get to playing cricket for an Australian cricket team. It’s been a great learning curve for all of us. Everyone has got a hell of a lot out of this tour,” said Watson.