Dhoni: We won't press panic button
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has told his players not to panic, despite losing their billing of the world's number one Test team to England.
India take on Andrew Strauss’ side at the Kia Oval in tomorrow’s fourth npower Test looking to avoid a 4-0 series whitewash.
It has been a thoroughly miserable tour for India so far, with England outplaying them in every department, but Dhoni does not want to see his team end on a low note, believing there is plenty to look forward to.
“The past two years have been great,” he said. “We have to look to the future as well.
"What's important is not to panic. Some sides push the panic button too soon, but we will look ahead to the bright future we have.”
Having entered the series with an aura of being the best side on the planet, Dhoni’s men will end the summer with plenty of question marks against their name.
Dhoni is aware that work needs to be done. “We've not been sleeping so this is not a wake-up call,” he added.
“It's not about how easy or hard it is. Whether you win or lose, you need to stick to the basics and keep things simple, whatever the result.
“We will stick to our game plan and hopefully it'll reflect in our performance. This is a sport; we go through tough times."
Little has gone right from the moment India landed in England, with a spate of injuries disrupting an increasingly disappointing tour, but Dhoni is refusing to cite either circumstance or misfortune as an excuse.
“I am not playing a blame game,” he said. “What’s important is to realise where we failed as a team - and not to forget we have not put many runs on board, which I felt is very important to give the bowlers the liberty of trying things out.
“We will take everything with an open heart. As I have always said, there are a few things in cricket that are beyond control.
“I think injuries are a big part - tosses again you can’t really have any control. It’s not about feeling let down. We tried our best with whatever we had.”
India’s fall from grace is sorely felt by their hundreds of millions of supporters. It is a situation Dhoni and others have had to grow used to, and there will be no knee-jerk reactions.
“The expectation levels are too high,” he said. “We have been doing well for the past two and a half years. I think it’s an added responsibility.”
Dhoni takes issue with suggestions that India, for whom key seamer Praveen Kumar is expected to be fit tomorrow despite having bruised his thumb while batting in Birmingham, have prepared poorly.
“We have a few limitations when it comes to fielding,” he admitted. “But overall when it comes to preparation, we gave it the same shot as the English side.
“If you only achieve success then it becomes quite easy for you in life. It’s the failures in life and the challenges in life that make life interesting.”