Captain Dhoni blames batsmen and seniors for defeat
For Mahendra Singh Dhoni, life cannot get tougher. Having suffered whitewashes in England and Australia last year, India's captain suffered the ignominy of losing a home series to England.
Instead of taking a major share of the blame for his uninspired captaincy in the four-match series, which his team lost 2-1, he came out and slammed the batsmen at the end of the fourth Test in Nagpur on Monday.
India crossed the 500-run mark just once in the series, and that was in the first Test at Ahmedabad, which the hosts won by nine wickets. But the batsmen failed in the next two matches, failing to cross the 350-run mark even once, and lost the two Tests in Mumbai and Kolkata, which ultimately proved decisive in the final analysis.
Image: Team India walks back after the days play
'In this series the batting department was lacking'
"In this series, the batting was the department that was lacking. In the sense, we needed to score more runs. Mumbai was a tough wicket, but, apart from that, we were not able to get into big partnerships.
"In cricket, it is not about who is scoring how many runs. It's about between two individuals, how big the partnership is. We were not really able to have those big partnerships that could have a big impact, especially when playing in sub-continent.
"We were not even able to get into the fourth innings of the opponent, which, I feel, is important, because that is when the game changes," he said.
Third Test in Kolkata proved to be crucial
Dhoni pointed out that the second innings of the third Test in Kolkata was crucial. India lost six quick wickets, which, he believes, cost them the match and the series.
"If you talk about mistakes, then we made one in Kolkata where we lost six wickets in a session. That was very crucial, because it was important to absorb the pressure so that the batsmen coming in later could come in and play freely. There were some phases we lost out, which is why we lost the series," he said.
'We are going through a tough time'
India's big problem was the performance of their experienced players, like Sachin Tendulkar, Zaheer Khan, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag and Dhoni, who all failed to rise to the occasion at crucial junctures in the series.
Dhoni called upon his senior players to take extra responsibility as the side goes through a transitional period with new players coming through.
"We are going through a tough time and we are going through a stage where we will have to see what really works for us. Few big players have left us which means the youngsters will have to fill in the gap. Until then, the seniors will have to take extra responsibility as the juniors start taking wickets or start getting runs," he asserted.
'Just don't see the stats'
Indian skipper also believes that the youngsters coming into the team need to be given a longer rope rather than being dropped after one or two bad performances.
"It's very difficult if you assess a youngster based on one performance. You have to see how they go once they play a few games. They will get the exposure. Not to forget, Piyush Chawla came after five years, so he will feel the nerves. It wasn't a fantastic wicket for him to bowl, there was no pace. It was very difficult to deceive the batsman with his leg breaks.
"You have to analyse everything. Just don't see the stats, so many overs, so many maidens, so many runs, wicket column is empty, so you have bowled badly. What we need to see if someone bowled well or not. It's not only the runs that say the batsman is batting well or five wickets in the bowler's case," he added.
Dhoni's captaincy has come under a lot of fire
Dhoni's captaincy has also come under a lot of fire for his tendency to go on the defensive early on as far as his bowling changes and field placements were concerned.
"There are a lot of things that need to be seen and not just sit there and say we need to be aggressive. Aggression is not about putting a short leg or a silly point or having a slip; it is about analyzing and finding out how we can get batsmen out. This wicket was very difficult and it is very sad if in 10 hours we are getting three wickets and you are saying that we should get more fielders up and all of them will get out; but it doesn't happen that way," he said.
He also asked fans to be patient with the new players.
"That's something, different people look at it in different ways. You may ask me as to who will replace Dravid. It's not about replacing them; it is about the youngsters coming in, and being themselves. It's about whether the youngsters can absorb the pressure and whether he can create that environment of getting into partnerships and scoring runs rather than thinking who is replacing whom," he said.