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Updated: January 13, 2012 01:30 IST

Dhoni rubbishes rumours of a rift

S. Ram Mahesh
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Shaun Marsh (in picture) and David Warner weren’t successful in the first two Tests but Australian captain Michael Clarke has backed them to have a good game at Perth.
AFP Shaun Marsh (in picture) and David Warner weren’t successful in the first two Tests but Australian captain Michael Clarke has backed them to have a good game at Perth.

Indian captain stresses on need to implement the lessons learnt

Indian captains are asked a lot of puzzling things. M.S. Dhoni was asked on Thursday if a 4-0 defeat in Australia was worse than the one suffered in England.

“[If] you die, you die; you don't see which is a better way to die,” he said before waiting for the laughter to die down to articulate a more sanitised answer.

Learning from the losses

“In England, we didn't compete to the extent we should have,” said Dhoni. “In other words, we didn't perform to the extent we should have on the field. You want to improve as an international side. We have learned a lot from that series. We have learned a lot from this series also. Just that we need to implement it in the next two Test matches.”

Asked about the criticism that the Indian team wasn't hurting enough from the defeats, Dhoni said, “It's not true. If sitting on the ground and weeping for four hours means it is hurting, then we are grown-up boys and we won't really do that.

“It hurts, but at the end of the day, it's a sport, you want to improve and come back. You don't want to be emotional, sit on a chair, and say ‘It's not really going our way'.”

Dhoni rubbished rumours of a rift in the team, of an alleged conflict between captain and vice-captain Virender Sehwag. “That's one good thing with our side,” he said.

“What really helps me is the information that flows in from all sides, whether it comes from the experienced players or the vice-captain or the youngsters.”

What about Brad Haddin's contention that India's cricketers turned on each other when the side wasn't doing well?

“We all move in the same direction,” said Dhoni.

“As far as fights are concerned, I have never seen an Indian team fight. It's something that's happening after a few beers with the opposition. They are just sitting and dreaming of it. Because it has not happened. That's one thing we are really proud of.

“When we speak about the dressing-room atmosphere and how we love each other's success, that has been the real strength of the Indian cricket team. I don't see it moving in any other direction.”

Michael Clarke, the Australian captain, chose not to get involved in the matter, saying his focus was on preparing his team for “a strong India who will be tougher to beat than they were in the first two Tests”.

Much like Dhoni, Clarke said the decision on the composition of the bowling unit — three quicks and a spinner or four quicks — would be made just before the toss.

“I've seen India be successful against fast bowling and spin bowling. It's more what attack will give us the best chance to win the Test,” he said in explanation.

Backing rookies

Asked if the inexperienced top three of Ed Cowan, David Warner, and Shaun Marsh was under pressure, Clarke said, “They would like some more runs but have all had a piece of success in Test cricket.

Both Davey and Shaun have scored Test match hundreds, and Ed batted beautifully on a seaming wicket in Melbourne.

They know what it takes to be successful at this level and I'm backing all three of them to have a good Test.”

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