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Dhoni comments were negative, says Waugh

New Delhi: Former Australia captain Steve Waugh has criticised Mahendra Singh Dhoni for asking outright turners for the home series against England and pointed out that if a side wants to be the best, they should be able to negotiate all conditions.

“Dhoni’s comments were really negative to the game, when he asked Indian curators to doctor the pitches… I can’t understand that,” Waugh said on the sidelines of the India-Australia Innovative Forum, here, on Tuesday.

Dhoni, after winning the Ahmedabad Test, had expressed his displeasure with the Motera wicket and said that they “want pitches that will turn from Day I”.

Reacting to that, Waugh said: “If you want to be aggressive and be the best in the world, you got to take all the conditions and not always ask for the conditions that suits your style of play... I was a bit surprised with that. If you are looking to be the best in the world, you got to learn to play in all conditions.”

He also said that during his tenure as the captain of the Australian team, he was never bothered about what sort of wicket they were playing on. “I captained the side for 57 games and never once had a word with the curator about what sort of pitch we are going to play on,” Waugh said.

However, Waugh believes that India are the favourites to win the four-match rubber against England. “India are a strong side, always hard to beat in India, and some of the young players are coming through, which is great sign for Indian cricket. (Cheteshwar) Pujara getting a double century, (Pragyan) Ojha taking wickets… Then there’s Virat Kohli,” he said.

“No player is bigger than the game, someone will always step up... Sometimes, you get too carried away, thinking that the experienced players are irreplaceable… But it’s only natural that someone will step up to play and take that role. India will win this series, I think they will win it 3-0 because the pitches will suit their team,” the 47-year-old said.

Asked about Australia’s upcoming tour of India early next year, Waugh said it is going to be an “interesting series”.

“Sitting here, I can’t say Australia can win, can I? No, it is silly. It is just like saying Sachin Tendulkar should retire... Of course, he should play on. But it would be interesting for both the teams. I think by that time, Australia may be more developed than India… Because India are starting to turn the things now and Australia had started their process 12 to 18 months ago. It will be a close series,” Waugh said.

Waugh, however, maintained that the result of the forthcoming series would depend on a lot of factors.

“It depends, I guess, a lot on people like Tendulkar… Whether he will be still around... India will be coming to a stage pretty shortly where things are going to be a little tough for them, when they have this new side coming around and legends of the game are no longer there.

“The good sign is that (Rahul) Dravid, (VVS) Laxman and (Sourav) Ganguly are not there and the team’s still playing well. That tells you that India have got a lot of depth in their system,” Waugh said.

On Australia’s ongoing series against South Africa, Waugh said that a drawn rubber would be a good result for the Aussies. “It was good for Australia to do well in the first Test, they were the underdogs… Michael Clarke has done well as the captain… Ed Cowan’s century was important. But Australia will have their task cut out in Perth, the conditions there will suit South African bowlers. If we come out with a draw in this series, it will be a good result for Australia,” he said. (Agencies)