Hyderabad: A couple of months ago, Mahendra Singh Dhoni was firmly on the back foot, having conceded a series defeat to England on home soil for the first time in 27 years. That had come after 4-0 routs in England and Australia. Now, Dhoni is the man who can do no wrong. After having set the world afire with a memorable 224 in the first Test in Chennai which India won by eight wickets, Dhoni became India's most successful Test captain on Tuesday (March 5) as he masterminded an innings-and-135-run drubbing in the second Test against Australia. His turnaround mirrors that of his team.
"That's what cricket is all about," Dhoni said, a few minutes after the match had finished. "You have to be at your best all the time. Against England, we were not at our best. We were not scoring enough runs, we were not putting huge totals on the board for our bowlers to be aggressive. All these things play a crucial part. You can't just rely on your batting or bowling, as a unit you have to do well. Once you score runs, automatically you will see the bowlers doing well. It works the other way as well. If the bowlers are bowling well, it creeps into your batting also. We are playing well at the moment. Also, the fifth-bowler strategy is really working for us."
Advocating teams playing to their strengths on home turf, Dhoni remarked, "The question we often get asked when we go to England or Australia is: ‘Why don't you play on sporting wickets back home in India?' It's the same for everyone, you have to realise you play 70 or 80% of your matches in your home conditions. You have to be good there. As I always say, once you go abroad, the conditions are totally different and that's a challenge. That's what improves our Test cricket over a period of time. The sides that have players who have toured the subcontinent, or our players who have played in other countries, they have been able to perform quite consistently. I feel it's still a challenge, that's what is special about Test cricket. You go abroad, you have different conditions, you come to the subcontinent, the wicket becomes slow and low. If everything becomes the same, Test cricket won't be challenging."