Nine hours before flying out of Mumbai, Dhoni was reminded — not for the first time — that a certain Sachin Tendulkar wouldn’t be on that plane to South Africa.
“I think what’s fairly important is that they have good amount of exposure even though it’s ODIs outside India. That always helps you adjust to the pace and bounce of the wicket. When you go into a new place, how quickly you adjust (is important). So I think it will be a new challenge for all of them,” he said.
In a series that’s been reduced to just 25 days, Dhoni and his boys will play three ODIs, a two-day practice game and two Test matches from December 5 to 30. In all these years, India have won just two Tests in South Africa and, come to think of it, the heroes of Johannesburg 2007 (Sreesanth) and Durban 2010 (VVS Laxman) aren’t around. Nor are Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.
“One thing is for sure: if you don’t perform, it does not matter whether it’s your first match or 50th. If you don’t perform, you will be criticized,” Dhoni said.
Spare a thought for him. He’s leading a bunch of novices to the most challenging of dens, but is unlikely to get any breathing space.
“They will need to know what they need to do to deliver,” he said of the Shikhar Dhawans, Rohit Sharmas, Mohammed Shamis and Bhuvneshwar Kumars.
“A few of them have played (in South Africa). Overall, if you see, someone like Shikhar has got experience of playing outside India, especially on ‘A’ tours.”
Dhoni said he was looking forward to an exciting series, but the skipper did agree to the fact that the tour would be a test of sorts.
(Source : DNA Newspaper)