We've been completely outplayed, admits Dhoni

MS Dhoni’s fighting half-century in the second innings of Edgbaston Test went in vain as India lost the match by an innings and 242 runs Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Birmingham: Aug 13, 2011

It took three crushing defeats for Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to admit the overwhelming superiority of hosts England.

“The series never really went our way. Most of the sessions were won by them. More often than not, we were outplayed. We have been completely outplayed in the series so far,” said a stoic Dhoni after losing the Test and the mantle of world’s best Test side at Edgbaston on Saturday.

Dhoni found fault with Indian batting more than the bowling though he admitted both the departments, as well as in the fielding, they haven’t been good so far.

“Our batting hasn’t clicked as it should have. We haven’t been able to put on par score on the board. I am happy with the bowlers, in the first two games it was tough on them with just three bowlers. You have to be at your best when you are playing against top nations. The pressure all along kept mounting on us. If you are not able to get the opposition out because you are a bowler short, the pressure starts mounting. On top, of it England is a very good side,” Dhoni was quoted by PTI.

The criticism against Indian batting has been their inability to come to terms with the seam and swing bowling of England. Despite playing three Tests, there is hardly any shred of evidence of improvement.

“To be yourself and slightly tune your batting needed for the conditions is what’s required. What we need to do is go out and enjoy? Not to think too critically of the batting is important. Not to worry too much about technique, how to change your game?it’s important not to get too critical.”

Team India invariably used to fightback from tough positions in the past but none of that famous ability has been witnessed in this series.

“It’s part and parcel. You can’t play at the top level and always win. Being a team sport, all departments need to click. If they don’t, and opposition plays good cricket, more often than not, you would end up losing the series. May be one series on 10 or 15, you would have one individual brilliant show and end up drawing the series.

“There is no sense of shame whether you lose by four runs or 400 runs. Thinking right things is going to help you. With one Test to go, it’s important not to think of margin but to think what to do to improve the kind of cricket we are playing.”

With the loss, India has also given up their status as number one Test side but this presently is farthest in the mind of Dhoni.

“We never think too much about it. Till you do small things right, ranking takes care of itself. Number one is not something that you own, it’s something you earn.”

The general perception is that Indian cricketers play too many games which, in turn, hurt their performance.

“We play 200 days of cricket. The planning is beyond players’ control. It’s the BCCI which decides. We only try to do our best and use our resources to the maximum.”

Rahul Dravid was deemed to have erred in not asking for a review of his dismissal for apparently the sound everyone heard was because the batsman’s bat hit his shoelaces.

“It’s very rare when a batsman hits the lace of his boot and it’s the exact time when the ball passes the bat. Rahul wasn’t sure, whether he nicked it or not, but he heard something it’s gone now and nothing can be done.”

Dhoni urged his teammates to forget the three losses of the series and prepare for the final one as if it was a one-off Test.

“We need to forget the last three games, we must take the final match as a one-off Test series and not carry the burden of last three Tests.”

The medical update on Praveen Kumar, who was hit on his bowling thumb while batting, is being awaited.