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‘Shutting down criticism helped me’

Under attack till very recently for India’s dismal shows, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni reckons that keeping himself shut off from all the criticism that came his way has helped him concentrate on his performance.  Dhoni, who smashed a game-changing 224 to play a big part in India’s eight-wicket victory in the first Test against Australia, said he had not changed his playing style despite the criticism. Asked about the pressure on him due to recent failures of the Indian team and effect of criticism on his performance, Dhoni said he mostly tried to keep himself aloof. ‘What really matters is the job I’m trying to do. The best thing I’ve done so far is to not watch news or read newspapers, so that has really helped, frankly,’ Dhoni said. ‘It’s not that I do not read newspapers, it’s just that the third page from the back is always the sports page, so you try to get rid of that. Otherwise you don’t get to know what’s happening in India,’ said Dhoni. He said he has not changed a bit in his playing style, despite all the criticism that have come his way. ‘Nothing has changed. Whatever is your speciality remains your speciality. Nothing has changed,’ he said. Dhoni attributed the Test win to team effort and said it was all about executing the plans. ‘I think a lot of credit goes to batsmen number three, four and five because they played long innings. OK, Sachin Tendulkar did not get a 100 or Pujara did not get a big 50, but still they played for a considerable period of time,’ said Dhoni. ‘The humidity over here, you know Chennai gets quite humid so it helps in getting the opposition bowlers tired. And it was important that we batted for four sessions. We were able to bat for more than four sessions. Overall it was a very good effort both by bowlers and batsmen,’ he said.


SEHWAG NEEDS MORE TIME: DHONI


Virender Sehwag’s patchy form continued but skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni still believes that the senior opener should be given more time to get back to form as he is a match-winner.  Asked about the performance of Sehwag, who played in the Test wearing spectacles, Dhoni said, ‘I think we just need to give him more time. Well, that’s how he bats. About Viru pa, I’ve said this plenty of times before, when he scores runs, he looks a fantastic player and when he doesn’t, you can question the shot he played or the way he played.’ ‘He’s someone who’s always played with that sort of flair. At times, we get very critical about him. We all know he is someone who can change the course of the game, he’s an attacking player. So let’s go forward with that kind of an attitude,’ he said. Sehwag had scores of 2 and 19 in the first Test which concluded here today. He said Sehwag was unfortunate to get out in the first innings.  ‘This wicket, there was not much pace. First innings, he was unfortunate because he middle the ball, yet it came back and fell on the stump. In the second innings, there was not much pace for him to play freely,’ Dhoni said.
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