Clock ticking for India's veterans

Dhoni, speaking after his side was dismissed for 161 and 171 in the third Test to go 3-0 down in the four-match series, said he expected gradual change to the line-up after India's second successive innings defeat.



Rahul Dravid is dismissed by Ryan Harris on day three of the third Test match between India and Australia at the …Perth, January 15 (AFP): Indian captain M.S. Dhoni admitted pressure was mounting on his team's star batsmen after yet another double failure by their ageing top order in the third Test at the WACA Ground.

Dhoni, speaking after his side was dismissed for 161 and 171 in the third Test to go 3-0 down in the four-match series, said he expected gradual change to the line-up after India's second successive innings defeat.

With the exception of Sachin Tendulkar, it has been a lean tour for India's celebrated top order and Dhoni said the time was looming when India would need to start exposing some younger batsmen to Test cricket.

V.V.S. Laxman, 37, has scored just 102 runs at 17 in the series and is under pressure to retain his spot for the final Test in Adelaide, with 24-year-old Rohit Sharma pressing for a Test debut after being 12th man in Perth.

Opener Virender Sehwag, 33, has 118 runs at 19.66 and 39-year-old Rahul Dravid has scored 168 runs at 28.

It was youngster Virat Kohli who offered most resistance in the third Test, top-scoring in both innings in his seventh Test.

"Once the number of matches increase where you haven’t scored as a batting unit, the pressure keeps mounting," Dhoni said of his veterans.

"If you see last couple of series, they haven’t done well but it’s to their averages and amount of runs they have scored that they have not done well."


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Former captains say Dhoni’s statement was ill-timed
"At the same time they must be feeling the pressure but it is very common to them, throughout their career they have faced that kind of pressure."

Dhoni, who admitted Indian Test cricket was at its lowest ebb for some time, said there was young talent waiting in India and he expects it to start being phased into the side after the current Test series.

He understands the push for youth, but said it needed to be a carefully considered generational change.

"It should be a very careful decision given what they have done for the country and given the experience they have which they can share with youngsters," he said.

"Most of our batters who would come in, they would perform in India. But you need to find a way as to how they could perform outside India. It is a good option to see youngsters coming in, I think it would be a good exposure to them."

Dhoni said he was not aware of rumours that Laxman was considering retirement. He also dismissed suggestions by former captain Sourav Ganguly that he didn't care about Test cricket.

"It is only I who know I seriously I take it," he said. "It is difficult for others to judge it."

And the captain also said the gulf between the sides was not as great as the lopsided series suggested.

"I would make it simple, Australia is playing very good cricket at this point of time, and we are not playing to the kind of potential we have," he said. "That’s why the result looks so different, same was the case in England."

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