Embarrassed and dejected after being outplayed for the second successive time by England, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday held his batsmen responsible for the debacle, saying that they failed to convert starts into substantial innings.
England won by seven wickets in the
third Test in Kolkata on Sunday to take an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match series, which India were expected to dominated given their formidable home record.
But the home team has completely fallen apart in the last two Tests and is currently looking down the barrel ahead of the series-decider in Nagpur starting December 13.
"We need to give bowlers a few more runs. We haven't scored consistently over 300. On this wicket we should have scored 450 or above. The batsmen who got starts didn't make it matter," a livid Dhoni said at post-match presentation ceremony.
"In the second innings, it was like a landslide we couldn't stop," he added referring to the collapse that saw the team fold up for 247, leaving England with a victory target of just 41 runs.
Dhoni, however, tried to put up a brave face by stating that the team would make a strong comeback in the fourth Test in Nagpur.
"We have everything to play for in Nagpur. Everybody needs to pull up their socks. Of course the better team won here. They bowled in the right areas they fielded well... They played well but we need to retaliate," he said.
Despite two successive humiliating defeats on home soil, underfire skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday refused to step down from captaincy, saying it was not the right time to run away but take responsibility and turn the team's fortunes.
"The easiest thing for me to say right now is to say, 'I quit captaincy' and be a part of the side. But that's like running away from the responsibility," he said after India were handed a seven-wicket defeat by England at the Eden Gardens today to trail the four-match series 1-2.
"Of course there are others who will decide. There is BCCI and the administrative people who also want to look into that", Dhoni said at the post-match press conference.
Dhoni, whose Test form has also come under the scanner, said it was his responsibility to get the team together and prepare for the next match.
"For me, my responsibility is to get the team together and be prepared for the next Test match. This is where experience will count. You have got the right mix of experienced and fresh guys", he pointed out.
"As a leader, this is a challenge that has been thrown up to me or towards me. It's always good to lead a side when everybody is doing well. That's a time when you don't need a leader. Leading a side is when the team is not doing well.
"You would try to gel the team well and back the senior guys and try to move in the right direction."
Asked whether he's still the best person to lead the Test side, he said "the selectors are there to decide."
The back-to-back defeats came in the aftermath of India's eight successive away defeats in England and Australia in 2011, which Dhoni described as the lowest phase of his career.
"I think England, Australia series were the lowest part. Because we were not really able to compete. We know what the faults are over here and we should be able to rectify those," he said.
The series of embarrassing defeats have come incidentally afer Duncan Fletcher took the coaching job before the England away series as India slipped from No 1 to No 5.
But Dhoni said it's not the time to play the blame game.
"It's wrong to question the coach. We have won quite a few series. The ODIs performance has been really good, in between we've won a Test series," he explained.
"Yes, we have struggled in Australia and England series and this is a series we've not done well and lost two matches. We should not really look for execuses and play the blame game, putting it on the coach. Ultimately, it's the 11 players who turn up on the field."
Dhoni said Fletcher has got excellent technical knowledge and has guided the players in the right direction.
"He has been doing what the coaches do. He has got excellent technical knowledge about batting. He guides the players in the right direction," he said.
"But ultimately once you cross the rope, you're on your own. That's the time when you've to get up and retaliate to the opposition, that's where we're lacking as of now," he added.
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