No need to press the panic button, says Dhoni
Bikash Mohapatra reports from The Oval.
It's a situation MS Dhoni usually does not find himself in. Never before in his stint as captain had India lost a Test series. Never before was he forced to do so much explanation.
In fact, it is the first time under Dhoni's charge that India goes into the final Test of a series aiming to avoid a whitewash, England having already pocketed the series 3-0, and the No.1 ranking.
To his credit, though, India's captain came prepared.
"It is a sport at the end of the day," he said, the tone more philosophical than pragmatic.
"There will be tough times," he continued, adding, "But it is these challenges that make things interesting.
"We are expecting to put up a good show at The Oval."
Image: India coach Duncan Fletcher and Sachin Tendulkar at The Oval
'We didn't put runs on the board'
Considering the margin of each of the three defeats -- at Lord's, Trent Bridge and Edgbaston respectively -- was bigger than the previous, has the team jotted down the causes for the same? Who's to blame ?
"Frankly speaking, we are not getting into blame game," asserted Dhoni.
"We have to realize where we failed as a team. I personally believe we didn't put runs on the board because of which our bowlers didn't have the liberty to bowl without any pressure."
He explained the embarrassment of the defeats, notwithstanding no time to keep brooding over them. Neither was it the right time to ponder over the reasons.
"It is not about feeling let down. If you look at it, in the first two Tests we had only three bowlers.
"We tried our best with whatever resources we had," he explained.
Image: R P Singh works out during practice at The Oval
Photographs: Getty Images
'You need to stick to the basics'
Having lost his first series, Dhoni was adamant that no change of approach is required for the upcoming outing.
"We do not need a wake-up call," he explained, elaborating the point he was trying to make.
"We have had very good results in the recent past [last two years or so]," he continued, adding, "Yes, you also need to look at the future, but I believe there is no need to press the panic button.
"Whether you win or lose, you need to stick to the basics and try and keep things simple.
"When you are desperate, the chances of preparing [and performing] to potential becomes less."
Image: Virat Kohli during training
'Putting runs on the board the only way to put pressure on English batsmen'
Dhoni seemed certain about what his team needs to do to make a match of it at The Oval -- where the last five Tests between the teams ended in stalemates.
"We are a side known for our batting. Putting runs on the board is the only way to put pressure on the English batsmen.
"There are things, like the toss, the injuries, weather, which is beyond our control. So we can't do anything about them."
He, however, remained evasive when asked about the chances of Praveen Kumar, who sustained an injury in the third Test, playing.
"We are not 100 per cent sure about the fitness of players.
"The physio hasn't traveled with us. We will have a clear picture only in the evening," he said.
Image: Team India players go through a drill at The Oval