The Telegraph
Wednesday , December 5 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dhoni: Turners will not guarantee us a victory

Calcutta: Having seen both sides of the coin during his reign as captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that they should follow the middle path — not get too excited after a win or loss.

At the pre-match press conference, he reiterated his stance on playing on turners.

The following are excerpts:

The importance of first innings lead

It’s important to take a first innings lead… It sets up the game. It’s very important to be at par in the first two or three days as we have seen the game changes in the last two days.

The wicket

The wicket looks good… We will have to see how it behaves after the wear and tear… I don’t think there will be much help for the spinners initially. At this time of the year, fast bowlers get some swing both at the start of the play and towards the end. The fast bowlers’ role will be really crucial...

If he favours turners after the reversal in Mumbai

We should still stick to turning tracks. That’s where our strength is. That’s what home advantage is all about... But we know that will not guarantee a victory every time. It’s not that when Australia play in Australia or when England play in England, they win all the games. Still they stick to the kind of speciality they have got. It’s the same for subcontinental teams…

The challenge of playing on turners

As I said, when you come to India, you want to play on the turning tracks. Irrespective of the results — we lost the last game — we want to play on a wicket that suits the subcontinental conditions. That’s what it is… It’s a big part. The concept of playing around the world and the challenge attached with it goes down the drain. Sometimes we see that even five days are not enough to get a result. I feel the challenges are when you play on tracks that assist the spinners.

Harbhajan Singh’s fitness

Bhajji has got flu and that was the reason he wasn’t seen during practice. How bad it is we will get to know later...

The openers’ performance

We rely a lot on the openers. But we don’t want to put any extra pressure on them, we want them to enjoy the game. Viru is someone who loves to express himself. It is just a matter of time...

If wicketkeeping is affecting his batting

When you talk about the wicketkeepers, they are the vice-captains, if not officially… The captain gives them the liberty to change the fields as per the bowling. They are the active ones... It’s very demanding, but I don’t really think it affects your game a lot. It’s important to back what your strength is.

The effects of the loss in Mumbai

When you have led the side for three years, you see both sides of the coin... We must follow the middle path, not get too excited when we win or lose. Cricketers don’t get much bothered if they lose and not especially excited if they win. It’s the most difficult thing to do as emotions set in… It does not matter if you lose a few games or win the series.

If the break has done them a world of good

Winning or losing is part and parcel... I don’t think cricketers get bothered a lot if they lose a game or they top their emotions if they win a series. The break has given us the time to assess the situation.

The fans’ involvement

Calcutta has always been a place where people turn up in huge numbers. I don’t think there will be any problem of shortage of fans.