'Glad we took up responsibility'

Collective effort in the absence of several regulars thrills Dhoni

The Indian skipper had every reason to feel elated as the win came without his premier players against a side that showed a lot of spunk at various stages. Excerpts:

On winning the opening Test in the Caribbean for the first time: We missed quite a few key players, which meant somebody had to take the responsibility, and I’m glad the team took up the responsibility. At one stage, we were 85 for six in the first innings, but again, the lower-order contribution was there. Raina batted really well with Harbhajan and the rest of the tail contributed. It was a slightly difficult wicket and scoring runs was difficult unless you bowled really bad deliveries, especially in the first innings from both the sides.

On lessons learnt: It had a bit of variable bounce which meant you couldn’t drive on the rise. The overall run-rate was quite less apart from the second innings where the West Indian batsmen went after the fast bowlers. From the outside, it looked like a flat track, but it was more about patience and waiting for the deliveries to be pitched in your areas and look to score.

On his advice to young players on playing on bouncy pitches: It’s really important to enjoy cricket. A lot has been spoken about the short stuff. But if you want to do well at the international level, you have to consistently face it. You might not be the best player of fast bowling or short-pitched deliveries but you have to negotiate it, and if you are not getting out to the short delivery, then it is fair enough. It doesn’t really matter whether you look elegant or not. It’s all about scoring runs.

On the team’s plans ahead: It’s not about what you’ve done in the first Test. It’s not about what you want to do in the future. What’s important is how well we are prepared for the Test series and what we are actually doing in the days when we are not playing.

It’s not about thinking about the result, winning the series or not. What we want the team to do is to stick to the basics, do the small things right. And you know that if you get the small things right, then the results will take care of themselves.

On Dravid and Praveen: Rahul is an exceptional batsman. He got 100 in 250 balls, which means you have to be very patient, and push the bowlers to bowl in your areas and to your strengths. That’s what he did. He was patient for a long time, and waited for the bowlers to bowl in his areas. Not only in this one, but whatever innings he plays, you know he just waits for the bowlers to pitch it in his areas. He was brilliant as usual.

Praveen is a skilful bowler. He can swing the ball both ways and is not someone who bowls 140-plus, but he can definitely swing the ball, which means he can confuse the batsmen.

On umpiring: If the correct decisions were made, the game would have finished much earlier, and I would have been in the hotel by now!

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