MAHENDRA Singh Dhoni arrived in South Africa yesterday and appeared ready with a plan to tackle hot-headed spectators still hurting over the truncated Test series caused by the politics of the Indian and South African boards.
According to ESPN Cricinfo, a journalist asked Dhoni at a press conference in Johannesburg yesterday as to what he would do if an object was flung at his team. “We’ll pick it up and give it back. That’s all we can do,” said Dhoni.
“Whenever we have come here, we’ve got fantastic a reception. I don’t think that will really change,” he added.
Cricinfo reported: “Luckily for Dhoni, his team won’t be going to Cape Town where the irritation is at its highest, so he may not see the worst of it. The New Year’s Test was cancelled because of the curtailed tour and people in the Mother City have to make do with a festival of 20-overs cricket instead. Only Johannesburg and Durban will host Test cricket for the remainder of this year, a disappointment for those in the rest of the country who long to watch their No 1 team in action.”
About the shortened series, Dhoni remarked: “I don’t pay that much attention to how many games we are playing. We have a busy schedule and it’s a schedule we need to respect. What is in our hands is three ODIs and two Tests, so we will look to make the most of it and move on to the next series.”
Interestingly, India coach Duncan Fletcher sat besides his captain and manager for the arrival press conference, but was not seen at the pre-departure media briefing in Mumbai on Saturday. “The way the guys have played recently, they’ve got a lot of confidence,” Fletcher said.
“We were facing Australia the other day and Mitchell Johnson was getting up to 151kmph. Our top four were handling it quite well. Our batting seems technically equipped. The only thing is the experience. But this lot is confident, they’ve got no baggage and they really believe in themselves.”