London: Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday snubbed reports suggesting that the defeats against England had come as a wake-up call to the Indian team while admitting that his side had not performed well.
Team India has lost three consecutive matches in their toughest tour after the World Cup win and had come under much scrutiny for not taking Test cricket seriously.
"We are not playing blame game. The fact is we haven't put enough runs on the board to allow bowlers the liberty to experiment", said Dhoni, referring to the poor show that India has put up in the England series so far.
In a time of severe crisis in the Indian cricket team, the skipper backed his players. "We have not been sleeping so we don't need a wake-up call. We have been playing well in the last 2 years", said Dhoni in a press conference on the eve of the fourth and final Test match at the Oval.
Speaking to reporters at The Oval on Wednesday, Dhoni said: "More often than not, with the kind of side we have, we put up a good show.
"What's important is what's needed. It's important to stick to the basics and keep things very simple."
Dhoni also said that despite poor performances in their recent outings, the team is relaxed and focused.
"Some teams push the panic button but I think we need to look into a bright future. I feel whether you win or lose the thing is we need to stick to basics and that is what will be my gameplan for the final Test. The match is important not just for result but for ourselves too," he said.
"It is a sport at the end of the day, you go through tough times," explained Dhoni, who earlier this year led India to World Cup glory.
"Challenges make life interesting. If you only achieve success it becomes quite easy for you. It's the same in cricket or any other sport. It's just a phase we're going through. We are learning a lot."
India, who have been pushed to the wall by hosts England, have been hampered by injuries to several senior members. The team selection in the Indian contingent has come under much scrutiny for going ahead with semi-fit players on the tour.
Dhoni said the fates had conspired against the tourists, particularly losing strike bowler Zaheer Khan with hamstring and then ankle injuries that meant the left arm quick was restricted to fewer than 14 overs, all bowled in the first Test, this series.
"We have missed Zaheer Khan because he has got plenty of experience and can move the ball," explained Dhoni. "He can plan a batsman out, which is important in these circumstances."
India have failed to make the benchmark score of 300 so far this series -- and indeed have yet to compile as many as the 294 runs England's Alastair Cook managed by himself at Edgbaston in any of their six innings this campaign.
For a side boasting the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, as well as the recently fit-again Virender Sehwag - out for a 'king pair' at Edgbaston - that is a deeply depressing statistic.
"We are a side more known for our batting so the priority for us will be to put runs on the board," Dhoni said.
"Virender Sehwag plays his own game, he backs himself to play shots, so he may get out. You can say it (Edgbaston) was one of those games. But his approach will definitely help us win games."
On being asked about the Indian team's composition for the fourth Test Dhoni hinted that Virat Kohli, who was sent in to replace Yuvraj Singh, is unlikely to find a place at the expense of the so-far short-ball bunny Suresh Raina.
The Indian skipper did not give a clear picture on the position of RP Singh. "Can't say about RP Singh right now since we don't announce our team before the match", said Dhoni.
Dhoni revealed that Praveen Kumar, who was reported to have been exhausted after extensive bowling spells at Edgbaston, has been bowling in the nets and looks fit to play the final Test at the Oval.
India are on the brink of a whitewash by the newly crowned World No. 1 England after losing 3 matches by embarrassing margins.
(with agency inputs)