Dhoni defiant despite defeat

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni will not shirk away from the challenge of leading India despite England moving into a 2-1 series lead with another resounding success.

Alastair Cook’s side wrapped up victory in the third Test of four at Eden Gardens this morning.

That was the latest stage of an exceptional turnaround after England had fallen to a heavy nine-wicket loss in the opening encounter at Ahmedabad.

Despite overseeing India’s first back-to-back home Test losses since 1999-2000, Dhoni remained defiant.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted India's failings in the Test series against England lie largely with he and his top-order colleagues

“As a leader this is a challenge thrown at me,” said Dhoni. “It is always good to lead a side when you are performing well. That is not the time you need a leader.

“Leading a side is all about when the team is not doing well; to try and gel the team together; to back the youngsters, back the seniors; to try to move in the right direction.

“The easiest thing to do for me right now is to quit the captaincy and stay part of the side. That’s running away from responsibility that’s upon us.

“Of course there are others who will decide. There is BCCI (the Board of Control for Cricket in India) and other administrative people who look into that. For me, my responsibility is to get the team together and be prepared for the next Test match.”

As for India’s failings at Kolkata, Dhoni made it clear that the batsmen were not good enough.

After winning what seemed a crucial toss, the hosts mustered just 316 and – after England responded with 523 on the back of skipper Alastair Cook’s 190 – only avoided another innings defeat by virtue of Ravichandran Ashwin’s unlikely 91 not out.

“The batting order will have to take responsibility,” he added. “We need to score more runs. This was a very good wicket to bat on. Of course the bowlers will bowl a few good deliveries that you need to keep out.

“But the top seven, most of us will have to score at the same time so that we can get a par total, which the bowlers can look to defend.

“If you don’t score too many runs in the first innings and if the opposition score runs in the first innings, you will find yourself under pressure.”

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