Dhoni still upbeat and eager for the challenge of Durban

2010-12-21 00:00

FAR from being downhearted by the innings and 25-run thrashing, India’s captain MS Dhoni was surprisingly upbeat about the manner his side had come back in the latter stages of the first Test.

“Well, we are quite used to starting tours off badly, so I guess we will just have to come back and do it again in Durban,” he cheerily offered, before taking on a more serious tone.

“Obviously there are some worries, especially the fact that we were not able to bowl them out,” he said.

“At the same time, you have to be positive about the way we batted in the second innings, because even though the pitch was flat, the pressure of such a big deficit can add more pressure when you are batting,” he explained.

Dhoni was also quick to distance himself from making too many excuses regarding the pitch on the first day.

“That is the game, and you have to play in whatever conditions that you face. I thought they bowled much better than we did, but we also don’t have bowlers who are express. Our guys need to be a lot more precise with their areas, and we cannot allow them to score at five runs an over in a Test.”

Dhoni suggested that Zaheer Khan would return for the must-win match at Kingsmead, but warned not to expect the left-armer to change things single-handedly.

“I don’t think it’s right to say that things would have been totally different if he had played in this match, but he brings a lot of experience and he always has plans to try and make a difference.”

Dhoni admitted that his side face an uphill task, but took heart from the fact that most of his batsmen looked in good nick — Suresh Raina aside.

Dhoni said he was confident that the stylish left-hander would come good, but there must be a strong temptation to take him out of the firing line.

“The good thing about these wickets is that once you get in, the bounce is very true and allows you to play your shots.”

Dhoni was at the crease when Sachin Tendulkar reached his latest milestone, and he predictably fielded a volley of questions on the “Little Master”.

“He is a legend, and I think that aside from the records, his passion for the game after so long is amazing.”

Dhoni’s demeanour suggested that the touring party is still upbeat, and his parting shot illustrated that his sense of humour is in fine nick too.

Having spent a lot of time with Tendulkar at the crease over the years, Dhoni was asked for an insight into what mind set he is in when approaching milestones.

“You know, there is a perception that when batsmen meet in between overs, they talk about intelligent things.

“So maybe it’s best if I don’t really answer that question, if you don’t mind.”

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