Questions may have been raised about the dip in performance of his team which was doing phenomenally well in one-day cricket before the Champions Trophy, but Mahendra Singh Dhoni is taking it in his stride. He is bothered about the present situation, but not overtly.
"Yes, we haven't done well in terms of statistics. In Champions Trophy we had one bad game (Pakistan) and one game was washed out (Australia). From that point of view, it's difficult to say that we have not been doing well," the India captain said on Saturday.
And contrary to Ricky Ponting, who isn't particularly fond of the concept of a seven-match series, Dhoni said it might give his team a chance to turn around. "Even if you have a couple of bad games, a seven-match series gives you ample chance to come back." He found a supporter in Michael Hussey, who said seven matches gave a team the "time to catch up".
Dhoni didn't sound too bothered about the form of his faster bowlers either, who are nowhere near what they were when Australia came to India for four Tests around the same time last year. "You can't compare the situations because they are different. There is this factor of different balls (red and white). Yes, the absence of Zaheer might be a factor. We have some other minor injury issues as well. But that's something you have to live with."
Hussey too reckoned Zaheer’s absence might diminish India’s strength with the new and old ball which played a pivotal role in India’s 2-0 Test series win against Australia last year.
“Zaheer is a big loss, but they have other bowlers, especially spinners, who know these conditions well and can exploit them. Ishant (Sharma) was quite a handful last year and we are not taking any of them lightly.”
Asked whether the Champions League T20, where six Australians from the ODI squad took part, would help them in the sense that it might have given them a chance to acclimatise in India, Dhoni said it could work both ways.
“They might have had some good practice, but at the same time, they might be exhausted as well.” Three from the New South Wales side - Brett Lee, Nathan Hauritz and Doug Bollinger - which won the T20 meet on Friday, were expected to reach Vadodara later on Saturday evening.