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No blaming bowlers: Dhoni

V.V. Subrahmanyam

HYDERABAD: Indian captain M.S. Dhoni says he will not blame the bowlers after two drawn Tests in the on-going three-match series against New Zealand. “Even if you bat for 10 days on these tracks, I don't think there will be a result,” he quipped.

“If you remove that one hour when Chris Martin bowled that spell which put us under pressure in the first Test at Ahmedabad, I don't think there was much help for the bowlers on these tracks,” the Indian captain said.

Speaking to the media at the end of the second Test which ended in a draw against New Zealand here on Tuesday, Dhoni felt that it was a tough call for him to decide the nature of a pitch.

“For instance, we all knew that the base of the wicket in Hyderabad is mostly batsman-friendly from whatever we had seen in the IPL and the two ODIs played here.

“So it is too much to expect to change it in such a short time. I believe they (groundstaff) still did a good job for it has a little bit of bounce in it, looked greener even today,” he added.

Matter of concern

“We should remember that our bowlers in the last 20-odd Tests have bowled more than 4000 overs which is in fact a matter of concern for us,” Dhoni said.

He did not agree that he should have preferred Ishant Sharma to left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha in the second Test here.

“Frankly, I feel Ojha is one bowler who can keep the batsmen quiet even on a flat track and bowl long spells,” he said.

He did not agree that the spinners did not put enough pressure on the final day. “I think the New Zealanders batted beautifully,” he added.

“We were aware that the first session was crucial in terms of taking wickets to win this Test. But, it did not happen.

“Even Zaheer Khan was not fully fit. I think he is suffering from a groin injury. We definitely missed him in the bowling attack. But, at the same time did not want to stretch him too far and face the risk of losing him for two months of cricketing action,” Dhoni.

“I am still happy playing with four bowlers even though it is pointed out that with Harbhajan's batting I have the option of going for an extra bowler,” he remarked.

“Well, I don't want to put too much pressure on Bhajji as an all-rounder,” he said.

For his part, New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori felt his team still has a chance to win the series. “It was a very good performance to go into the third match in a three-match series knowing that it will be the decider,” he said.

“We came here to play and not to draw the games. But I am extremely pleased with the team's batting performance here,” he said when asked how he felt holding No.1 team for two draws.

“I must say both Brendon (McCullum) and McIntosh batted very positively here,” the Kiwi captain said.

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