What makes Team India comeback kings? Dhoni explains
Bikash Mohapatra reports from Trent Bridge
The heavy defeat at Lord's at the start of the week notwithstanding, there's reason for Team India to be confident going into the second Test against England at Trent Bridge (Nottingham), starting Friday.
More often than not, in recent times, MS Dhoni's men have successfully been able to put an opening Test defeat behind them and come back strong in the series.
It happened twice at home against South Africa -- in both the 2008 (lost Ahmedabad, won Kanpur) and 2010 (lost Nagpur, won Kolkata) series -- as well as away in South Africa early this year (lost Centurion, won Durban).
While touring Sri Lanka last year as well, India lost the first Test in Galle before coming back to square the series in P Sara Oval (Colombo).
Image: Zaheer Khan relaxes after being put through a fitness Test at Trent Bridge on Thursday
Photographs: Getty Images
'We have always come back well having lost the first game'
No wonder, on the eve of the second Test, Dhoni was bullish about his team's prospects.
"We have always come back well in a series having lost the first game," he gushed, adding, "We will, as always, try and break the game into small sessions and then try to win those sessions."
Asked what makes his side the comeback kings, India's captain had a simple, but straightforward answer.
"It is about the mental strength," he reasoned.
"As a series progresses the players improve a lot, get used to the conditions and realize what needs to be done, he added, before proceeding to elaborate.
"I think it is important to perform as a team. More often than not you see the contributions from the batsmen and the bowlers come together at the same time.
"Not only the top order batsmen perform but also the lower order puts in a fight, puts a price tag on their wicket and getting those 40 to 60 extra runs for us.
"At the same time when we need to take a wicket, with a partnership going on, those part-timers take those wicket for us."I think, overall, this is what has happened in the last few years. So I think its playing as a team and helping each other perform is something that matters the most."
Image: S Sreesanth bowls in the nets during Thursday's practice
'Important to convert good starts into big innings'
Dhoni opined that it would be imperative for his side to cash in on a start and build partnerships.
"It is important to convert good starts into big innings," explained Dhoni.
"At the international level it may so happen that despite being in form a batsman doesn't get good starts, because the bowler he is facing is equally good.
"I would, therefore, say more important than individual efforts are partnerships."
Image: M S Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher
'We never emphasise on being the No.1 side'
The 30-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman was also dismissive abut the hype in the local media regarding England winning the Test and usurping the top spot from India in the ICC Test rankings.
"We never emphasise on being the No.1 side," declared Dhoni.
"What we do emphasise on is to go out there on the field and enjoy the cricket we play," he added.
Image: Sachin Tendulkar in the nets at Trent Bridge on Thursday