The Telegraph
Sunday , December 27 , 2009
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dhoni: Never doubted Jadeja, Kohli’s talent

New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, back at the helm after serving a two-match ban, expressed satisfaction with team’s performance in the ongoing series against Sri Lanka and lauded Virender Sehwag’s captaincy on Saturday.

The following are excerpts

How he would rate Virender Sehwag as a captain

I’m not going to give him (Sehwag) marks. Cricket is not played that way. That’s your job. But he has played tremendous cricket, won both the matches for the team and we will be playing the last match without any pressure.

The team’s show in the series

I think everything went perfect. We got the wickets when we needed them and had partnerships when we required. We did drop a few catches, but the fielding still looked better than the first two matches. The intensity was there and I think everything went fine.

India’s fielding

Fielding is something that cannot be improved overnight or in a week’s time. We have to work on our basics and then it would start improving, gradually. We dropped catches in the Twenty20 matches and in this series also.

On youngsters like Ravindra Jadeja and Virat Kohli…

We never doubted their (Jadeja and Kohli’s) talents. It was just a matter of getting exposure and making the most of it. We always knew they would do well. In a long series, we are certain to miss some regular players. While we would miss them individually, it’s for the youngsters to come and perform to ensure that the team doesn’t miss anyone on the field. The youngsters are the ones who lift the fielding standard. Their basics are correct and you have the luxury of fielding 4-5 brilliant fielders inside the circle. Even at death, it’s great to have such agile fielders manning the boundary.

Team India’s batting

While for us it’s Sehwag, for them it’s (Tillekaratne) Dilshan — all depends on what kind of start they give to their team. More often than not, it depended on how long the opener lasts. But when both failed, it’s the middle order which mattered. Even when Sehwag got out, we scored 300-plus. Take the openers out and we have a better middle order.

India’s performance in 2009

It was a good year. Of course we did not do well in the Champions Trophy and in the home series against Australia, but we did well both at home and abroad. Individually also, we did well and I would say it was a good year overall.

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