Sunday, March 15, 2009

Testing times await Dhoni's ODI kings

Under Mahendra Singh Dhoni, India have now won ODI series in Australia, Sri Lanka and now New Zealand. If Australia was a breakthrough last year, the 3-1 win over the Kiwis reaffirms this team's rise, but their job is only half done in New Zealand.With the trophy in hand, there were smiles all around in the Indian camp at the Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday. Despite the blip in the final game, India had been far superior over the course of the five games.Although the Indian skipper was his usual poised self when asked to bask in the glory, he said: "Weather we are playing at home or playing the toughest opponents, we rate every game equally and try to enjoy every match and give our 100 per cent."India has plenty of positives to take into the Test matches; the vibrant form of Virender Sehwag, runs under the belt for Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Dhoni himself.But there are concerns as well; the third seamer after Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma remains a mystery unsolved and the fielding standards have been well below par in the series but the man at the helm says once they change from coloured clothes to whites, the dynamics of the contest change."It doesn't matter if you have won the last series. You have to start from scratch. When you play Test cricket, you have to be consistent for a period of time. It's not about just winning one or two sessions. You have to win more sessions than the opponent and in a comprehensive way," stated Dhoni.

The Black Caps also have a chance at redemption in the Tests and are counting on the thumping victory in Auckland to carry into the Tests and perhaps on more helpful pitches."It (the win in Auckland) puts us in good space. If you lose outright 4-0 then the guys can be very demoralised. There are guys who have played well and will take the confidence in the Test series," said New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori."We have to bowl better on flatter wickets, we can't rely on the bounce of the wickets and the lack of bounce to give a excuse," he added.After the 3-1 victory, the Indian team does not have too much time to celebrate the win. In four days, they will face a bigger challenge -- the Test series. No Indian team has won a Test series in New Zealand in the last four decades. So MS Dhoni's men have a monumental task ahead of them.

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