The Telegraph
Monday , December 10 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘The easiest thing for me now is to quit captaincy’

Calcutta: Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday said that the batsmen have to shoulder more responsibility in the series-deciding fourth Test against England, starting in Nagpur on Thursday. At a press conference, he has also said he won’t run away from responsibility and left his future in the selectors’ hands.

The following are excerpts

The reasons for the defeat

The batsmen will have to take up the responsibility... We need to score more runs. It was a very good wicket to bat on. Of course the bowlers will bowl a few good deliveries and we need to keep that out... But we have to make a par score, which the bowlers can look to defend… Otherwise it would be very difficult. If you don’t score too many runs in the first innings and the opponents score runs, you would find yourself under pressure.

The team’s batting

The effort has to show... We have to make sure that if we get the start, we make it big. In the top-seven, at least four or five need to contribute.

The Indian pacers being less effective

It was more because of the bounce and the length they bowled... Of course they had Finn who bowled quicker. They constantly looked to put pressure on the batsmen. The spinners also looked to bowl in one area. If we were a bit more patient and batted for a few long sessions, we would have had more opportunities.

Zaheer Khan’s form

It’s a very technical question. But the beauty of it is we all know the problem. It would be a great help if we find out the solution as everybody is asking the same question… As far as his fitness is concerned, he has been the way he’s for the last few years. He's definitely not unfit. He is doing everything. About being not effective, may be the batsmen are playing him better.

If this is the lowest phase under his captaincy

I think England and Australia series were the lowest point... Because we were not really able to compete... We know what the faults are and we should be able to rectify those. But overall, the bowlers are doing well. If you are not putting runs on the board, you can’t question the bowlers! The spinners have done a really good job; a bit more contribution from the fast bowlers would really help the side.

Whether he thinks he’s still the best person to captain

The selectors are there to decide.

On how difficult is it to captain a relatively young side with some of the legends not there

As a leader, this is a challenge that has been thrown at me. It’s always good to lead a side when everybody is doing well. That’s a time when you don’t need a leader. Leading a side is tough when the team is not doing well. You would try to gel the team well and back the senior guys and try to move in the right direction. The easiest thing for me to say right now is, ‘I quit captaincy’, and be a part of the side. But that’s like running away from the responsibility. Of course, there’s the BCCI and others to decide…. But my responsibility is to get the team together and be prepared for the next Test match.

If he would he look to have a change in his style and approach in the dressing room

It’s important to keep changing. We keep altering the plans, preparations, all those subtle things... From outside we can’t really change much. You don’t want me to start shouting because that’s not really me. But some of the big players not there, there’s a bit more responsibility on the senior players.

On if he’s happy with the coaching staff

He (Duncan Fletcher) has been doing what the coaches do... He has got excellent technical knowledge about batting. He guides the players in the right direction.