Hours after India cricket administrators were scurrying for cover to escape the public anger and equally livid media after the Kotla ODI had to be abandoned, one man was a picture of poise. His comfort ‘rubbed off’ on the select media gathering and soon the whole atmosphere was back to normal, as if nothing had happened.
There was no one to represent the Board of Cricket Control in India, when its cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was awarded the Test Championship mace from International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat. Dressed in the formal blue blazer provided by BCCI and customary white shirt with a tie to cap on (what does this mean), MS looked his composed self and was a picture of maturity after leading his team to numero uno spot in ICC Test Rankings. Zeecric.com’s
Himanshu Shekhar caught up with India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Excerpts:MS congratulations for winning this coveted trophy….tell us about the emotions which are running through at this moment.
It is absolutely tremendous. It is a proud moment not just for me, but for the whole team. The whole team has worked very hard for it and we truly deserved it. We have performed consistently well over a period of time, and this required a lot of hard work. The results have come along and we have started winning on tracks that were unthinkable couple of years back. Be it Perth or Chennai the nucleus of the team has been same, and hence the entire team deserves the kudos and I am collecting the award on behalf of the entire team.What has gone-on in the dressing room that was not there before?
Well it would be unfair on my part to comment or compare the dressing room environment of previous times. But if I talk of our success I would credit it to healthy team spirit that we have nowadays. This team celebrates each other’s success. Today, Virender Sehwag would be happier of Gautam Gambhir or Ishant Sharma’s success than his own. When you start getting involved in such healthy relationships with your colleagues, you tend to enjoy your game.
The most difficult part nowadays is to carry the bulk of expectations and enjoy your game, but this special team bonding helps you in enjoying not just yours, but others’ game as well. Success rubs off and the team is the ultimate beneficiary….(smiles).Sehwag-Gambhir pair has played a phenomenal part in this success.
Viru has been the key to our dominance. Gambhir has added huge value to his wicket and undoubtedly is the most improved cricketer among us. The two were the most dominant batsmen and it has helped India gain the upper hand in historic wins at New Zealand and West Indies. Sehwag is a rare talent and his style is unique. In fact, I would advice youngsters against copying his style, because that is unique. One doesn’t find such talents easily and therefore it is a privilege to play along with him. Cut shots through point and covers are his trademark style and he will play it whenever the ball is there to be hit. It is such a delight for his teammates and quite a morale dampener for opposition bowlers.Gary Kirsten has been quite an influence. But as a captain, there must be occasions when you both may have differed on certain issue. Who has the final say?
Laugh’s off…Difference of opinion is quite there, but our roles are defined. Off the field he is the mentor, guide and the boss. On the field I have to take the decisions. He has been instrumental in bringing about sea of change in our perspective towards a coach. He has come as friendly chap, who is always approachable be it youngsters or the bigger names in the team. It was his confidence in Sehwag that saw him take the big leap.
His presence came as a blessing in disguise for the team. And I would also like to thank the support staff, who has been helpful in keeping us fit through a hectic calendar. Be it the physio or the support staff, without them one can’t even think of India standing on the podium where it is today.Fielding has been a huge embarrassment for Team India and now that you have a new fielding coach….
Interrupts…We have not fielded that bad in Test matches. Have we? In fact, some of our victories have been special because of the brilliant catches that we took. If you have performed consistently through the year then you must have done some really good things. Our catching in slips, forward short-leg and close-in areas have improved a lot and is easily among the best in world. Yes, there are certain grey areas like fielding in the out field and we are working on it. We are working on specialists at field positions and that would help us.
I am confident that with this team we would be able to dominate world cricket in coming years.But Team India will play only four Tests in coming year that after including South Africa Tests, in that scenario you won’t get a fair chance to defend the ICC Test Championship mace?
Well, as far as my knowledge goes, there are quite few Test matches that are being proposed. I am hopeful that we won’t have a situation like that. Would that not be squeezing in and what about the right mix of ODIs and T20s along with the Tests?
Test cricket is the ultimate test of patience and skill and hence as a cricketer there always is a special pride when we don Test whites. Having said that, squeezing matches between the fixed calendar definitely puts extra pressure on players’ mental and physical preparedness. I am not hundred percent sure about number of Test matches that we will play but I am hopeful that it won’t be just four Tests. In fact the right person to address that question would be Haroon…(Indicating towards ICC CEO Haroon Lorgat.)Ishant Sharma’s who was touted as the find from Oz tour is going through a disastrous phase. What will you tell to Ishant?
He is a proven match winner. He is going through a phase which every cricketer has to go through and we should support him in getting out of it. Let me also say that often these pitches in the sub continent are cruel on fast bowlers and that has taken it’s toll. Ishant is India’s future and he will comeback very soon. Thanks a lot for your time MS.
First Published: 1/6/2010 1:48:16 PM