|Nasir Jamshed and Misbah-ul Haq during a practice session,
at the Kotla, on Saturday. Picture by Prem Singh
New Delhi: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday defended Duncan Fletcher saying the coach was not responsible for India’s poor run.
Asked whether an Indian coach should take over once Fletcher’s term ends, Dhoni said the players should take the responsibility for their poor showing.
“I think it’s time that players take responsibility because coaches help you to sort out things when there is any technical flaw. A coach cannot play... At the end of the day, it is up to the individuals to react to the different conditions. I think it will be unfair to blame the coach,” he said.
Asked if India really needed a foreign coach, Dhoni laughed and said: “I don’t know…desi or videshi to bas murge hotey hai.”
Despite a series of defeats in Tests and ODIs, the captain said he was under no pressure.
“If I really felt any pressure, then I would have been broken and crushed by now. If you give too much importance to these things, it will be very difficult to concentrate on the ground.
Everyone has his opinion and we all respect that. But for us it is important that we win this match.
“If we go by what the media says then we have to keep 30-40 teams ready because they want changes after every defeat. It is important to back the players. Everyone knows we are going through a tough period, but at the end of the day, the XV in the squad are the best.”
Confirming that Yuvraj Singh was fully fit and did not attend nets because the practice session was optional, Dhoni said: “I am the person who is doubtful as of now. We have asked Dinesh Karthik as a back up. I have a sore back.
“Just now, we were doing the drills… three stations and I believe it was at the last station that something happened... I went in to have a bit of batting... It’s cold, we will see how exactly it shapes up in the morning,” he said.
Dhoni evaded a direct answer when asked if some new players, such as Ajinkya Rahane, would be given a chance to play on Sunday since India had already lost the three-match ODI series.
“We have not decided on the playing XI. Jinks (Rahane) has done well for us whenever he got a chance. But we will sit and decide whether to make changes in the last game or give a long run in the next series. We will weigh the alternatives.
“We will feature the best possible XI. In bowling, we have given Bhuvneshwar (Kumar) a chance and he has done well. We must see how he bowls in different conditions. We all know that he is a good swing bowler. I haven’t thought of too many changes, but will discuss and decide,” he said.
Having five bowlers in the team, Dhoni said, was Pakistan’s main strength. “They play with five bowlers, plus (Mohammed) Hafeez and (Shoaib) Malik. They have a lot of bowling options and they have been bowling consistently well. It gives them the strength.
“Their batting and bowling are equally balanced. We have not been able to put pressure on them because we have not really batted well. But they will be tested at some point,” hoped Dhoni.