Dhoni blames the loss on cramped schedule
Faced with the prospect of losing the number one tag after conceding a 0-2 lead to England in the ongoing Test series, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni blamed a cramped schedule for his team's poor performance so far.
He, however, hoped that with considerable rest before the next Test of the four-match series, India will stage a turnaround.
"Somebody said time is of essence here. We came straight from the Caribbean and didn't have time to play more than one (practice) game. So we are playing seven and not four matches back-to-back," said Dhoni after India suffered a crushing 319-run defeat at the hands of England in the second Test at Trent Bridge.
"It (this series) is a continuation of the West Indies tour and we haven't really had a gap. You need to prepare differently (for England tour). In this respect the next 10 days are very important," he added.
Image: MS Dhoni speaks to coach Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Getty Images
Sehwag set to join the squad
With Virender Sehwag set to join the squad, and Gautam Gambhir and Zaheer Khan likely to be fit for the third Test at Edgbaston on August 10, Dhoni expressed hope of a comeback.
The series so far has been hard on India and Dhoni admitted that his famed batting line up needs to fire to give the visitors any hope of a turnaround.
"It is important to score and put runs on the board. We have been slightly lacking in this respect. Even in the West Indies, we didn't score runs consistently. We do need improvement in the batting," he said.
"In all the three innings, we haven't been able to see the second new ball through. In conditions such as these, it is vital. We don't want our batters from number eight onwards to be exposed to the second new ball," he added.
Image: Virender Sehwag
Missing key players
The Indian skipper said injuries to key players such as Zaheer, Gambhir and Sehwag hampered India.
"We missed Zaheer in the middle of the (first) Test and that too in the first innings. We missed Harbhajan in this game. The openers were missing. Conditions really have been tough for us," Dhoni said.
Dhoni conceded England's batting runs too deep but insisted that it can be managed if he has the services of his top four bowlers.
"Their batting runs quite deep. Only (James) Anderson to some extent doesn't bat. We had them down to 124 for 8 in the first innings and yet they were able to score 100 more runs.
"But if all our four bowlers are playing and are fit, there is no good reason why we can't get them out," he said.
Image: India's Zaheer sits on a ball during a training session
Consistent chance to newcomers
Indian batsmen appeared uncomfortable against short-pitched deliveries in the second Test but Dhoni said it was not a big issue.
"It's not that we haven't done well against short-pitched balls. Sometimes, individuals get caught up for a while but most of the batsmen are used to short-pitched bowling. It's not a big concern," he insisted.
He also disagreed with views that young batsmen of the team are not comfortable against short deliveries.
"You need to give consistent chance to newcomers in Tests. You need to groom talent. Sometimes they come and score a few centuries but you want them to be consistent. It can only happen if you make them play as many games as possible in different conditions," Dhoni said.
Image: Abhinav Mukund
Photographs: Getty Images