Mahendra Singh Dhoni knows his job well; and knows it best when he is under pressure. On the eve of the fourth Test against England, the India captain confessed it was a difficult phase of his career.
“It is the most important Test not just as captain, but as an individual too. This sort of situation comes very rarely for the team.
“It happened against South Africa when we were playing at home and we were down and the last Test was in Kanpur. I won’t say it’s a good situation to be in, but it’s a good test of our character.
“In a way it’s good we are in a situation like this where we have nowhere to go and we have to do well in this game,” said Dhoni.
How does he manage to handle it without any fuss? “That’s one thing I have done really well, whether it was the 2007 T20 World Cup or the 2011 World Cup.
“When people appreciate me a lot, I am not in seventh heaven and it’s the same when people criticise me, because I know the kind of fan following we have. We have extreme opinions.
“We raise the same person to the skies and then pull him down. I always say that we should be somewhere in the middle. I have been quite good at maintaining that, whether we win a game or lose a game.
“So it’s not been too difficult when it comes to not watching television or reading the newspapers.”
Dhoni also spoke on the pitch and likely combination for the Test.
“The wicket looks good, it’s quite hard and we’ll have to see how it behaves. We could play three spinners. You weigh the pacers and spinners and see who might play a bigger role.
“There will be some reverse swing so we will have to see what we go in with. Maybe an additional spinner will be more effective in the second innings. You never know someone might turn out to be a great bowler and a great debutant for India. You have to keep your faith in your bowlers.”
The India captain stood by his team in this hour of crisis. “Everybody was talking about this phase in Indian cricket when the big players will go out and the pressure will fall on the youngsters and we will go through a rough patch.
“Of course, we have struggled in the last two Test matches. This might happen in the future too and you will say that all these youngsters should go out and new youngsters should come in.
“You have to be consistent and you have to keep faith in the youngsters. People who have done so much for Indian cricket should not be judged on a series or a couple of series or on half a season.”