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Ind vs Aus: Don't blame defeats on sledging, says MS Dhoni

India skipper MS Dhoni does not believe on-field banter with Aussies resulted in successive losses

Melbourne: Captain MS Dhoni said yesterday sledging had nothing to do with India’s losing performance in the series against Australia and he encouraged more of it in this week’s third Test in Melbourne.

India Captain MS Dhoni
India skipper MS Dhoni takes a break during training at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on the eve of the third Test yesterday. Pic/AFP.

Dhoni said he saw nothing wrong with sledging despite India coming off second best in their efforts to distract Mitchell Johnson during last week's second Test in Brisbane.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli during a training session yesterday

Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma fired up Johnson in Brisbane with the explosive paceman slugging 88 off 93 balls with 13 fours and one six, and shared in a ground record 148 runs with Steve Smith for the seventh wicket to turn around Australia’s first innings.

Firing up Johnson
Johnson followed up his game-changing knock with a dynamic spell of fast bowling capturing three for 10 in the space of 11 balls to rip the heart out of India's top order in the second innings to set Australia up for victory and a 2-0 lead in the series.

Former captain Sunil Gavaskar said the tourists should tone down their “verbal spats” in the series, but Dhoni confirmed that won’t be happening.

“I feel a bit of chirping is good on the field,” Dhoni told reporters. “That’s what makes cricket interesting... if the guidelines are followed, I’m not really bothered. The chirping has nothing to do with our performance.”

Aggressive Australia opening batsman David Warner has already said that he won’t be toning down his “banter” in the Boxing Day Test. Meanwhile, Dhoni dispelled rumours of dressing room infighting between two frontline batsmen Shikhar Dhawan and Virat Kohli, saying they are all “made up stories”.

MSD’s humourous dash
Dhoni last week admitted there was “unrest” among the team after losing the second Test in Brisbane. “Actually that was the case,” Dhoni joked at a press conference yesterday.

“Virat used a knife. He stabbed Shikhar, who just recovered out of that then we pushed him to bat. These are all stories. Marvel, maybe Warner Bros or somebody should pick up this and make a nice movie out of it.”

Dhawan retired hurt after being struck on the arm while batting in the nets prior to day four in Brisbane. Kohli was also struck by a short ball, but replaced Dhawan in the middle. Kohli lasted only 11 balls before he was bowled by pacer Mitchell Johnson.

Dhoni blamed the media for circulation of the deflating stories, regretting that “journalists start making their own stories” during Indian tours.

“If somebody from the team has actually told you this, it would be interesting if you could give us the name,” Dhoni said. “Because his imagination is really brilliant and he should be working for one of the movie companies.

“He doesn’t deserve to be in our dressing room, because he has entirely created something that has not been there at all. As far as the reality is concerned, there’s been nothing like that. We have a fantastic dressing room, and there have been no issues,” he concluded.

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