As a captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni told “this changed Indian line-up did all the small things that matter,” on way to an
unprecedented 4-0 series sweep against Australia.
Looking back at the series and the changes he brought about in his captaincy, Dhoni said, “I had to change a bit, the reason being that the line-up has entirely changed. The bowling line-up is quite the same, but the batting line-up has changed a lot, almost completely. What’s important with the new side is that you often have to talk to them.”
Refusing to look at the triumph as “revenge,” Dhoni said, “I think it’s better to say that it was a good series for us. There are plenty of individuals who did really well, quite a few bowlers, quite a few batsmen. They got some exposure and scored runs in difficult conditions. We all know it’s very difficult when it comes to batting fourth in the subcontinent.”
Responding to a question whether the series was played on the “right kind of pitches,” Dhoni countered with a touch of sarcasm, “Well, you’ll have to answer what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ because your opinion really counts. I feel that when four fast bowlers play, it becomes strategy… when three or four spinners play, it becomes a bad wicket.”
Dhoni praised Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, M. Vijay and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar for their roles in the “important series”.
“I am very impressed with Pujara. He really played well in the series. Today, his knock was very important. Overall, the openers struggled. But the way Shikhar (Dhawan) played in Mohali and Vijay came good at the top, the team gained a lot. It was good to see newer players doing well in the series."
“Jadeja not only came good as a bowler but also who can bat a bit. I would like him to be more consistent (with the ball) and give the team the option of having five specialist bowlers. Bhuvaneshwar, the way he took those three top wickets in Mohali, showed that he can be very useful in conditions abroad. He does not bowl fast but can swing the ball both ways. Like he showed in the ODIs (against Pakistan) that in helpful conditions, he can be very effective.”
Talking about Ashwin’s return to form, Dhoni said, “He was facing a bit of pressure and I think it was very important to come back in the right frame of mind because people talk a lot of different things. I think it was very important for him to back himself.”
On a question on whether Sachin Tendulkar had played his last Test in India, Dhoni’s quick and short response evoked laughter from most present. “Don’t speculate. There are no ifs and buts. I remember, you (the media) had asked the same question in 2005. So don’t speculate. You never know.”