Dhoni blames bad luck, injuries for series debacle
Thoroughly outplayed in both the Test and ODI series, Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the miserable tour of England was all about adjusting to shock injuries that pushed his team on the backfoot and dealing with a wretched run of bad luck.
India suffered a humiliating whitewash in the four-match Test series before losing the five-match ODI series 0-3 in Cardiff on Friday.
In a final assessment, Dhoni said injury to several key team members played a huge part in the debacle.
"I have not seen so many injuries in the last five years. To see 9-11 players get injured in one series has been shocking. In the ODI series we also did not have luck," he said after India lost the fifth and final ODI by six wickets via the Duckworth-Lewis method.
"If you look at the first two Tests, we were left with three bowlers. If your bowling starts looking weak, the pressure piles on the batsmen. You cannot carry a team consistently on just one department.
Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Dhoni rues Zaheer's absence
"If Zaheer was there in the first Test and we could have pressed advantage in the second innings instead of relying on part-timers. It could have looked different. But it's important what we did. There is no point in sulking," Dhoni said.
Dhoni, however, said that his side would not be thinking of revenge when England tour India next month to play five one-day matches.
"You should not have such a feeling. If you have revenge in your mind, you become desperate and start putting pressure on the whole side. It's better to stick to basics," he said.
"We also would have to see how many of the 9-11 players who are injured are now fit and have played some matches. We have to see who all are available for selection," Dhoni added.
Image: Zaheer Khan
'Munaf's injury broke the rhythm of our bowling'
Asked if he thought injured players should straightaway be allowed to get back into the side without having a few matches under their belt, Dhoni said, "It's tough. We have to exactly see what kind of injury it is.
"It is good if someone has some matches under his belt. But it's difficult because you need experience in a line-up. You try to balance it. You don't want your bowling department to look completely fresh."
Dhoni blamed the conditions and injury to pacer Munaf Patel as the reason for India's six-wicket defeat in the fifth and final match."To have Munaf injured after four overs, broke the rhythm of our bowling. The ball was also getting very wet. This was the fifth time we lost the toss and it became very difficult for spinners," he reasoned.
Image: Munaf Patel after injuring himself
'It's difficult to say if England are the best side'
The Indian captain underlined the point that practice games should not be an official fixture where only 11 players can play. Flexibility with numbers of players who can play is important for practice games.
"We were not able to use practice games in the best possible manner. The first game was official and we could not play more than 11 players. Just before a Test match, the players had to be on the field for 90 overs. The second practice game was the same," he said.
"We will make sure there is an MoU in place that practice games should be just practice games. You should be able to play more than 12 players. If I am asked to play an official game, I would prefer playing a Test match than these practice games," he added.
Dhoni held a high view of the present England side but was not prepared to concede they were the current best side in the world.
"England are a very good side, irrespective of the format they are playing. As they play more and more cricket, they would get only better. But it's difficult to say if they are the best side. The top 3-4 sides are all good. They are among the best sides.
Image: England players celebrate after winning the ODI series against India
'Next 3-4 days will be complete rest'
"In the sub-continent, it might be different but they can still get the reverse swing to control the batsmen. England's batting line up also looks settled. Broad and Bresnan can not only bowl fast and quick but they can also bat which means England bats very deep," he said.
Despite playing without a break for a long time, Dhoni gave the hint that he could be turning out in the Champions League Twenty20 rather than take a break.
"There are four games to be played at the league stage in 10 days. We will see how I stand before the start of the Champions League Twenty20. Next 3-4 days will be complete rest. Our first game is on 24th. I am hoping my fitness does not get worse."
Asked about Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Aamir admitting to spot-fixing, Dhoni said, "It's something seriously wrong. People might talk about forgiveness but for me match-fixing and spot-fixing is going against the nation. It's my personal view."
Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni