The Telegraph
Thursday , December 13 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dhoni’s ‘most important Test’

Nagpur: Mahendra Singh Dhoni was candid enough to admit that the Nagpur Test, which begins on Thursday, is the most important Test for him, as a captain, and for the team as well.

Speaking at a media conference, Dhoni, however, said that the pressure will only help them perform better.

The following are excerpts

Whether this Test is his most important as a captain

It’s the most important, not just as a captain, but as an individual as well. This sort of situation comes very rarely for the team. It had also happened against South Africa, when we were playing at home and were down before the last Test, which was in Kanpur. I won’t say it’s a good situation to be in, but it’s a good test of our character.

The criticisms they are facing

When people appreciate me a lot, I’m not in seventh heaven. It’s nothing different when people criticise me, because I know the kind of fan-following we have… They are extreme. In fact, if you are part of Indian cricket, you’ll see that everything is under the microscope and everyone has an opinion.

India’s bad phase

It’s getting very critical... Anyhow, everybody was talking about this phase in Indian cricket when the big players would all go out and the pressure will be there on the youngsters. So everybody had expected this. Of course, we have struggled in the last two Test matches. I would say that this might happen in the future too… We might again lose two Test matches and then you will say that all these youngsters should go out and new players should come in.

Whether an inexperienced team is a problem

When Glenn McGrath started out, he too was inexperienced. He also had to start from scratch. Thereafter, all of us know the heights that he climbed. So you never know.

On Sachin Tendulkar’s role

Sachin is the best man to have in the team in a situation like this, because of the kind of experience he has and the kind of performances he has given in similar situations. He is someone we all look up to. When it comes to Sachin, I think it’s best not to speculate. Let him enjoy his cricket.

Gautam Gambhir’s form

The best thing I like about Gauti is that he is an aggressive character. I like him whenever he is aggressive. I don’t mean only stepping out and hitting the ball, it can also be defending the ball positively... It’s his aggressive mindset.

If he intends playing three spinners

We could play three spinners... If you weigh the pacers and spinners and see who might play a bigger role, then there will be some reverse swing…So we will have to see what we go in with.