India's winless streak in ODIs has extended to eight matches, which is bound to affect the morale of a team that will be asked to defend its world cup trophy in a year from now. Questions will be asked and they will have to be answered - mostly by the skipper. But the usually unruffled Mahendra Singh Dhoni seems rattled inside.
A No. 8-ranked team has blanked India 4-0 in the ODI series, with all Men in Blue having to show is a tie that just managed to delay the inevitable in New Zealand. Bowling continued to failed, batsmen's overseas woes heightened and this is starting to affect the captain's mindset.
At the post-match press conference after the 87-run loss in Wellington on Friday, Dhoni was at loss of words - with a usually astute captain failing to be logical at times.
1. "Improvise and adapt." Eh?
"New Zealand executed their plans very well and whatever we tried - chasing or batting first - it didn't work. So now it is up to our batsmen to improvise and adapt and bring in a positive attitude," he said.
2. "New-ball bowling was really good and even the death bowling." Ahem
"In this game [fifth ODI], the new-ball bowling was really good and even the death bowling to some extent. I knew they will go for runs but I was happy with the death bowling.
FYI: In the last 17 matches, Indian bowlers have conceded more than 270 runs on 15 occasions and more than 300 runs nine times.
3. "We need a seaming allrounder" Binny binned?
"Till we find a seaming allrounder, it is very difficult to play with five bowlers and six batsmen."
PS: In the must-win fourth ODI, R Ashwin batted ahead of debutant 'seaming allrounder' Stuart Binny. Also, Dhoni bowled Binny for just one over and dropped him for the next rubber, which was a dead game.
4. "Ishwar Pandey can't be tried yet." Then why are you carrying him, sir?
"Regarding Ishwar Pandey, we thought that there is some more work needed on his bowling before he can be tried."
Why is a national side flying with players who they don't want to play? Shouldn't the fine-tuning be done in the NCA rather than on a Test tour, that too out of the subcontinent?
5. "We wanted Ashwin's batting." What about his bowling, skipper?
"We wanted Ashwin's batting. The one match that was tied was because of his batting performance, so that is why we back Ashwin."
A skipper, who has lost a series 4-0, is praising his bowler for batting well and not criticising him for continuous failure to take wickets out of the subcontinent. Something's horribly wrong.
6. "We got in excess of 250 in all but one game" Bravo!
"Our batting may not have clicked, but we still got in excess of 250 in all but one game. So it is important to learn out of these positives and get rid of the negative feelings and thoughts."
Note: The use of 'may not'.
Quotes provided by agencies