Dhoni keeps calm amid defeats but Pakistan whitewash may be the end


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The Independent Online

Tomorrow could prove a watershed for Mahendra Singh Dhoni. While England take on India A at Delhi's Palam A Ground, across the city the India captain will be trying to stave off the ignominy of a home one-day whitewash at the hands of Pakistan.

"It is a difficult time for us but we cannot blame any individual," said Dhoni following India's second successive loss to their bitter rivals on Thursday. "We need to be calm and take decisions accordingly."

After the zenith of leading India to victory in the 2011 World Cup, a third successive defeat would leave Dhoni's future as captain hanging by thread.

Since guiding his side to a 5-0 whitewash of England in October 2011, India have failed to reproduce the dominating form expected of World Cup winners, losing six of their last 13 matches. Following Sachin Tendulkar's retirement from the one-day arena, Dhoni needs his senior players Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir to assume more responsibility against England.

One bright spot has been the emergence of the bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 22. He may be raw but his genuine pace and swing were missing from India's attack during the Test series against England.