The Telegraph
Friday , January 4 , 2013
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Seniors should take more responsibility, says Dhoni

Pakistan players celebrate their victory, at the Eden, on Thursday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the man who has led India to two World Cup triumphs, must be a tired captain nowadays, having to explain one unsuccessful venture after another during the media conferences.

As India suffered yet another loss, of match and series, on Thursday, Dhoni admitted that it’s not easy for him to explain the misadventures.

“It’s a tough one… Because you have to give proper explanations to the questions that are asked… I can’t just blame the players, because at the end of the day we are a team and when we lose, we lose as a team. It’s not about pointing to a particular individual… You have to bear the loss and move forward… It’s a challenge because only one person can come and so I’m representing them… As I had said, I don’t mind being the punching bag. We just want to win the games,” Dhoni said at the post-match media interaction.

Batting has let India down on more than one occasion and the captain wants the seniors to take more responsibility. “It’s disappointing… When you are going through a transition period, you want your experienced cricketers to perform, so that the youngsters can be groomed by them… But if the seniors are not performing, be it anyone, the pressure is on the juniors. So it’s important that we do well as a batting unit… I think it’s very important for the seniors to take more responsibility and to share the responsibility,” he said.

He, however, was not as disappointed with the bowlers. “It was a very good effort by the bowlers… Pakistan got off to a very good start and so to pull them back and restrict them to 250 was a very good effort by the bowlers.”

Asked what measures would be taken to arrest the slide, Dhoni said: “You shouldn’t be expressing yourself too much after the game, because everybody is quite emotional at that point of time… You need be very calm and look ahead at what needs to be done. There are a lot of things that you can say, but at the end of the day, the players need to go out and perform.”

A lot is said about the Indian team being under constant pressure of expectation, but Dhoni got it right when he said: “The main pressure is always exerted by the opposition… If we had imposed that pressure on the Pakistan team, it would have been different. Yes, we were under pressure because it’s a home series, but as I said, the experienced cricketers have faced such situations in their careers… If you have played 100-150 ODIs, you know about such pressure situations… I don’t think it’s very tough to deal with that.”

Talking about pressure, Dhoni also highlighted the importance of holding fort during pressure situations in a match. “It’s very important to keep rotating and not give away wickets… There will be periods in the middle where you won’t get runs… But you have to see through those phases… We didn’t do that today… So at the end of the day, I would say that we lost too many wickets in that period. After that, even 250 looked like a big score,” he explained.

Defending his decision to bowl first, Dhoni said: “Choosing to bowl first was not a wrong decision, because the pitch remained quite the same. I think it was slightly better as the lights were switched on and the game progressed. But there was something for the spinners as well as the fast bowlers, especially in the initial overs… There were quite a few edges that didn’t really go to the fielders… Our effort was good. In India, if you are looking to bowl first and can restrict the opposition to 250, it’s a very good effort by the bowlers.”