INTERVIEW: MS Dhoni talks to the Press at the end of the tour

 MS Dhoni 
The Indian captain talks about the tour, no declaring early, his team and how much he enjoyed touring New Zealand.



On the tour overall…

“From the very first games where we lost the first couple of Twenty20’s, and won the one-day series and followed by the test matches we have improved a lot.  We wanted to improve in specific areas and we have.  It’s a learning curve for us and good exposure for some of the youngsters in the side.  Overall a very pleasing tour.”

On the overall team performance…

“It was a very good team effort.  Especially if you see the batsmen and the bowlers contributed when it was need from them.  The wickets were on the flatter side and there was not much for the bowlers so they had to keep on changing their plans, improvising at times.  The same applied to the batsmen also.  Overall I think that the effort from the bowlers was really great.  The lower order contribution is very important too.  It takes the moral of the team really up.  When it was needed from them the lower order contributed.  Overall I think it was good that we didn’t rely on one specific individual – everyone contributed.  Each and every batsman contributed at some point in the series and the same comes with the bowlers.”  

On the outstanding performances of Gambhir and Khan…

“Both of them keep on improving each and every game that they play.  There is a bar, if they score a century, I’m talking about each and every batsman not only about Gambhir, whenever they are set they want to get a big score for the side.  It’s not only about getting 50’s or 100’s, if needed they can go beyond that.  Zaheer has been brilliant in the last one-two years.  He has bowled well everywhere not only in India or abroad.  He always comes up with some plan and executes the plans well.  He helps the other bowlers and it has been fantastic to see the way he has bowled throughout the series whether the wicket was helping him or not helping him.” 

On the difficulty of getting a bowler to bowl into the wind…

“Yes, it’s very difficult.  The wind increased in the last couple of days so it was difficult.  Patel did well to bowl a few overs from that end and Harbhajan took over.  It’s difficult for a spinner to bowl against the breeze, especially when the batsmen are really looking to take you on and a miss-hit can carry over the boundary.  But overall I think we used the breeze to have a bigger impact on the game.  He (Harbhajan) was drifting the ball both ways and that is what is important.  You want to beat the batsman in flight and that’s what they did.”

On not declaring on the overnight score of 531…

“At this point in time it seemed that maybe 320 would have been good enough but you have to see what is a really good score and you can’t really bank on weather.  We were expecting a minimum of 110 overs.  We thought we would get them out in 110 overs but we didn’t get the overs.  It’s about the mindset when you have that extra 80 odd runs on the board you can really have the extra catching fielders hanging around for a longer duration of time.  Throughout the second innings we wanted to attack, attack, attack, so that even if one ball goes in the air you want a fielder to catch it and it’s only possible when you have that extra 80 or 70 odd runs.” 

On whether it was a good test pitch…

“It depends on what you think is a good Test wicket.  If you think in 2003 it was a good Test wicket and this was not a good Test wicket – it depends what you think is a good Test wicket.  Our bowlers proved that there was something for the bowlers as well.  In the first innings I think the New Zealand bowlers bowled well.  There was a bit of everything.  For the seamers if there wasn’t much help from the wicket or off the wicket there was something with the wind you could use.  There was a bit but it was more favourable towards the batsmen.”

On breaking the 41 year drought…

“You know that you set a benchmark so next time you come to New Zealand everyone expects you to win.  You have achieved something that is great but the tough thing is to maintain it and to sustain it.  It never gets easy for a cricketer.  If you haven’t achieved something there is pressure to achieve it. Once you have achieved it there is pressure to sustain it.  So nothing comes easy so I think it will be tougher for the guys who come next time.  It’s all about enjoying cricket and giving your best and not thinking about the result.” 

On what he has enjoyed about New Zealand off the field…

“Plenty of things, fishing, site seeing – I didn’t go for the bungy-jumping or sky diving or anything scary.  I did a fair amount of fishing and this was the best experience that I got.  I’m not a great fisherman but I loved it and got a few fish and some baby sharks also.  I threw them back so hopefully wasn’t catching the same one.  It is one of the places that you want to come.  If you are not playing cricket you have more time.  The environment was great with good wickets as a batsman.  We loved the wickets out here, the way they were – not in 2003 though.  Overall a good 50 odd days of cricket and off the field we had plenty to do and the hospitality was great.” 

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