Dhoni praises veterans
India skipper MS Dhoni paid tribute to retiring stars Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly.
Last Updated: 10/11/08 1:34pm
India skipper MS Dhoni paid tribute to retiring stars Anil Kumble and Sourav Ganguly after a triumphant series victory over Australia.
Dhoni and his troops ended a dominant 2-0 series win with a 172-run success in Nagpur in the fourth Test.
Kumble had led the side into the series but retired during the contest, while Ganguly played his final Test in Nagour, and both veterans will be a big miss for India according to the skipper.
"I think they are marvellous cricketers," Dhoni said on Sky Sports after the game.
"They have led India, they have scored for India, they have done everything - cricket is their passion and they have proved themselves consistently at international level for 12, 14 or 16 years.
"So of course we look up to them and I never thought I would be sharing a changing room with them and it has been a great opportunity for us, especially the youngsters.
"There is a big gap in our changing room now which needs to be filled."
Dhoni admitted that India took their time to get going on the final day in Nagpur, where Matthew Hayden briefly threatened to lead a remarkable run chase.
That was soon snuffed out though and the spinners had the Aussies on the wrack and pressed home their advantage.
"We didn't really start that well," Dhoni added.
"I say that because they were scoring at five and five and a half runs an over so it was a worrying time, but we knew that they had to continue like that for a long time.
"We were getting wickets and once they had lost three wickets we thought one or two more wickets and we are in the game and it was important to win the series 2-0.
"I think the fast bowlers did the trick for us in this series, there was not much help for them in any of the wickets, they bowled their hearts out and they shared the responsibility and were backed well by the spinners and part-time bowlers."
Winning three out of four tosses helped India's cause, as did Australia's lack of spinning talent, but Dhoni also praised stand-in opener Murali Vijay and regular Virender Sehwag for their contributions.
Vijay stood in for Gautam Gambhir in great style, combing with Sehwag for opening stands of 98 and 116.
"A lot depends on the start, of course winning the toss is important, but after that you need to put a big score on the board and you expect the openers to get big scores for you.
"And our openers got them, they run well, they go for boundaries, they are aggressive cricketers and that helps when the momentum is with you and you can build up big scores of 400/500 and that's what we did throughout the series.
"It is very important (to beat Australia) because this was the series everyone was looking up to, it is more than the India v Pakistan rivalry now.
"It was an important series for us so we could carry the momentum into the games coming up.
"We had motivation, we had plans and the best thing was we executed those plans well."