Admitting technical flaws in his batting, skipper MS Dhoni says he just looks to adapt well to Australian conditions
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni averages a pedestrian 26.89 with the bat in the last 12 months in Tests. There was the hundred against West Indies at Eden Gardens last November, but his performance in overseas series has reopened the debate: Does he need to make technical adjustments to succeed in alien conditions? Is he good enough to score runs away from home?
Dhoni has been bold enough to admit that he isn't technically sound. "Well, I don't look to make too many adjustments, (I keep them) as small as possible. Because, what I've learnt over the last 15 years, right from schooldays, is that it's very difficult to change (your technique) in just one series, or couple of series. So, what's important is to adapt well. It's important to try and avoid the deliveries that can get you out.
"These are the things where I look to improve. I know that all of a sudden I can't really change everything that I've got, and that's a strength that I have. So, I just look to make adjustments, go through the series and look to perform for the side," he told reporters on the eve of the second Test match against Australia here at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
India have lost five overseas Tests in a row. When asked if it was fair to say that his team was overrated, Dhoni retaliated: "That's what you (the media) think. If you see the kind of players we have got, that will be a very premature statement to make. "We have always bounced back, and the Australian team will have to keep the pressure on the batting line-up to succeed. It's just that we didn't perform to our potential in the first Test. We'll definitely look to improve in the second."
An aggressive Dhoni felt that it was important for Mickey Arthur's Australians to back up their strong remarks about landing psychological blows on his batsmen after the first Test. "Psychological blows? I don't know what to say on that. They'll have to walk the talk," he said.
India have gone downhill from the No 1 Test side to one whose quality has been questioned. Is Dhoni worried about the pride factor? "Well, again, this relates to the ranking system. Cricket is a game where the team has to be in good form, and have to do well in all the three departments. "What we need to do is improve as a unit, rather than just improving as a bowling side, or a batting side. I'm not worried too much about it because we have got the experience. The bowlers have shown signs of improvement. There are plenty of positives, and we are hoping to improve soon."
Dhoni admitted that India's self-confidence had taken a beating after five successive losses abroad. "It (five losses abroad) does affect it (self-confidence) a bit, but it's not something to get bogged down about because, we all know the reasons as to what exactly happened, and you learn a lot from the mistakes.
"In the last five Tests abroad that we have lost, we have still had plenty of positives. I am okay looking at the positives," he said.