Kolkata: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni threw his weight behind out-of-form team-mate Yuvraj Singh and said the middle-order batsman needed support as he was going through a difficult phase of his career.
Yuvraj, who made a comeback in the ongoing Test series, failed once again in the second Test against the West Indies with a reckless innings of 25 as India notched up a mammoth 631-7 in their first innings in Kolkata. He made 23 and 18 in the first Test in New Delhi.
Dhoni said Yuvraj needed runs under his belt to end his current crisis.
“Yes, he’s going through a tough phase, but it’s important to show confidence on him. We all know he is talented. He has played really well against all the big bowlers, especially in the ODI format, which means he has talent to do well in Test format as well," Dhoni said after India crushed West Indies by an innings and 15 runs.
“One reason is that he has been in and out of the side. It’s very difficult to back yourself. You have that bit of tentativeness. It’s a bit tough on him. But hopefully he will recover and do well for India."
Opting to bat, India piled up a mammoth 631-7 declared in their first innings and then shot out the tourists for 153 to take a huge 478-run first-innings lead.
Dhoni showered praise on his other batsmen, saying they had done an excellent job in the match after their failure in the first innings of the Delhi Test.
“Our batting did not do outstandingly well in the first innings in Delhi. But after that we showed improvements in the second innings ahead of this Test. We have covered the areas really well. Our fielding has also been decent."
“England was a bad tour for us. There were several reasons why we did not do well there. It is always good to be on the winning side. It’s the process that’s more important than the results. Glad to be on the winning side," added Dhoni.
After their disastrous England tour where they were blanked in the Test and ODI series as well as the one-off Twenty20, India returned to inflict a 5-0 whitewash on the same opponents at home in the one-day series.
Asked if he was hopeful of series whitewash again, Dhoni said, “We will try our best. It’s difficult to predict in cricket. We will have to see what kind of wicket we get there (in Mumbai)."
Dhoni, however, said it was not the right time to experiment, even though India have taken an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-Test series.
“It’s too soon right now. We will see what needs to be done. We don’t want to overuse the bowlers also. We will think and do what’s best for the side. It’s not about experimentation. We will see what best possible XI we can have, and accordingly we will decide."
“We have shown some improvements in this Test than we did in the first Test. Hopefully we will go on improving. We are not thinking of results. We will try to do well on the field."
Meanwhile, praising West Indies for their batting display in the second innings, Dhoni said, “West Indies are a good side. Their bowling line is quite good. It’s not that they can’t bat. As you have seen in the second innings, they are talented batsmen. We are expecting a tough third Test."
On whether he was contemplating some rest in view of the gruelling schedule, he said: “Well, I won’t take rest for the next game, that’s for sure. Let’s see after that."
However, the Eden Gardens track once again drew criticism from the India skipper for being too flat without any turn and bounce.
The wicket eased out midway into the second day’s proceedings and the Indian bowlers had to sweat out for four sessions before bowling out West Indies for 463 in their second innings in 126.3 overs on the penultimate day of the Test.
“I would like to see a wicket where it turns more and the spinners get the bounce on a consistent basis. Because that’s what India is known for. Hopefully we will be able to get those kind of wickets," Dhoni said after the match.
He said there was something in the pitch for the bowlers in the early morning session on Day Two, but afterwards it became a batting paradise.
“It was not a wicket where you can get in and get the batsmen out. It was tough job for the bowlers. In the first session when West Indies were batting in the first innings, there was a bit of moisture and the spinners got a bit of turn. But after that and half-an-hour before lunch, it turned out to be a be a flat wicket and continued to be a flat from that point of time."
“This Test match was more about application by the batsmen. That’s why I said that if we had not dismissed them cheaply, then the match would not have ended this way. There was nothing really for the pacers or spinners, especially after the second day’s morning session."
Dhoni had described the Eden strip as “ugly-looking" when it hosted an ODI and a T20I against England on October 25 and 29 respectively.