Onus now on captain Dhoni to salvage some pride | india | Hindustan Times
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Onus now on captain Dhoni to salvage some pride

india Updated: Dec 10, 2013 00:59 IST
Khurram Habib
third ODI

The South Africans faced some testing times coming into this series after the loss to Pakistan and the tiff with the BCCI. But the comprehensive mauling of India has wiped off their worries.

AB de Villiers and Hashim Amla were left giggling about half a dozen times when they faced the media after Sunday's match in Durban.

One question, on whether they were looking to rest anyone, set off peels of laughter. The bit that came out for India is that they might rest one or two, including Dale Steyn.

The mood in the India camp is sombre. MS Dhoni has been brave enough to face the tough questions but such has been the impact of the losses that the dismay is overpowering and the skipper has been left collecting whatever little positives he's got.

For example, after Sunday's game, he said he was happy with the bowling although it had leaked 280 runs. The mauling reminds us of the times he and coach Duncan Fletcher had to go through in England and Australia.

Ahead of this series, he had a weak middle order but with the top-order doing brilliantly there was little to worry about.

Top-order crumble
Now the top order has crumbled twice and he has been left with players who are unsure of their timing and feet movement. Yuvraj Singh, already struggling, is recovering from back spasms while Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja don't inspire confidence.

"I think the shot selection wasn't that good," said Dhoni on Sunday evening. It was a comment on his team's strongest point.

Up the order
The state of affairs leaves Dhoni the senior-most batsman. He has been India's top scorer in the series so far, averaging 42, and scoring India's only fifty.

The series may be lost, but it's important for him to get something out of the series and a way do it will be to move up the order.

Even abroad, the captain has batted seven times at No 3 and averages over 116, while at No 4 he averages 81 in nine one-day International innings abroad. The figures at these spots become more impressive at home.

So, the question is will he move up and try and salvage some pride or is it far-fetched considering that on previous occasions most of these knocks came on the back of strong showings from the openers.