Dhoni's advice to young players: Adapt if you are not adept
In the end, India emerged victors by 63 runs with more than a day to spare. It was MS Dhoni's 15th Test win as captain, making him the most successful India captain after Sourav Ganguly (21 wins). He is also the first captain to win the opening Test in the Caribbean. N Ananthanarayanan reports. The report card | India’s most successful Test captainscricket Updated: Jul 06, 2011 12:09 IST
India had faced questions before the Test series against the West Indies on whether the absence of senior players would hurt their chances.
In the end, India emerged victors by 63 runs with more than a day to spare. It was MS Dhoni's 15th Test win as captain, making him the most successful India captain after Sourav Ganguly (21 wins). He is also the first captain to win the opening Test in the Caribbean.
However, some of the young batsmen were shaken by sharp pace on the way to victory before tea on the fourth day.
While Murali Vijay was handicapped by a hand injury, debutant Virat Kohli failed the pace test by Fidel Edwards. However, Suresh Raina, seen as the weakest link against pace, top-scored in the first innings under pressure. It was the experience and class of Rahul Dravid, who scored his 32nd Test century, and Harbhajan Singh, who scored 70 in the first innings, which rescued the batting.
Dhoni said the younger players should apply themselves and learn to enjoy the game and that nothing can match the challenge that Test cricket throws up.
"We talk about the pace and short-pitched stuff, but if you have to do well at the international level, you have to consistently face it," he said. "You have to adapt to the conditions. You may not be the best player of fast bowling or short-pitched delivery but you can still negotiate it. "If you are not getting out to the short-pitched delivery, it doesn't really matter whether you look elegant or not. It is all about scoring runs. This is where if you are enjoying your game, it helps you to perform better. You get into positions where you can negotiate the bounce."
Dhoni praised the team for coming together in the absence of the seniors. "We have done really well in the past two years when it comes to lower order contribution. At the same time, part-timers get wickets when it is needed. It was a perfect example, we thought we would get 150 or 200 runs (in the first innings) but because of the tail-enders we were able to get a few more runs as lead."
The skipper was not worried about the shaky start by the openers, debutant Abhinav Mukund and Vijay, who suffered a hairline crack on his left hand while batting in the nets.