Part-timers give me bowling options: MSD
Colombo, Jul 31: MS Dhoni is known to pull a rabbit out of the hat. In the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka, he raised many eyebrows by dropping leg-spinner Rahul Sharma to accommodate an extra man in the already strong batting line-up. And like most times, he pulled it off with brilliance.
The extra batsman, Manoj Tiwary, picked up four for 61 in 10 overs with his part-time leg-spinners. His four part-timers, including Virat Kohli, Virender Sehwag and Rohit Sharma, bowled 22 of Sri Lanka’s 50 overs and India’s spearhead Zaheer Khan left his quota incomplete by four overs.
After clinching the five-match ODI series 3-1 in the fourth game itself, Dhoni explained his logic of playing four bowlers and revealed why he is always so keen on getting the most out of his part-time bowlers.
Your part-time bowlers almost out-bowled the regular bowlers. What was the reasoning behind that tactic?
I think the part-timers bowled particularly well in this game. The pace was very important and they bowled according to the field. That was the main reason why the faster bowlers bowled only 18 overs in the innings. Of course, the wicket was good but our bowlers bowled the right line and length to create trouble for the batsmen.
Can you explain the logic behind your four-bowler theory?
The kind of variation you have among your part-timers matters a lot in making this decision. With Manoj Tiwary we had a bowler who could spin the ball away from the right-handers. We have a couple of off-spinners and Virat can bowl a bit of medium pace with the keeper up. We have been asking Manoj to bowl in the nets a lot and I was quite happy with his performance today. In the absence of a genuine all-rounder, we’re quite happy going in with seven batsmen and that means the part-timers will have to give us 10 good overs for us to do well as a team. I also had Suresh Raina with his right-arm spinners. I have a lot of options and can manoeuvre them to keep the opposition guessing.
What’s your take on Virat Kohli’s phenomenal run of form?
He has improved a lot. He’s someone who doesn’t like to throw his wicket away once he’s set. He may start off slowly but there are certain areas through which he can score, so he doesn’t need to worry about the runs not coming. Once he’s played about 70-80 deliveries, his strike-rate goes up drastically. He’s a very hungry cricketer who wants to keep performing match after match.
Is it time to reward Suresh Raina’s contributions down the order by promoting him up in the batting line-up?
He bats at No.6 or 7 for us, which I know is a very difficult position. Perhaps, time has come to promote him to 4 or 5 and give him an opportunity to get those big runs. But again, you have to see what’s best for the side. In the last couple of years we haven’t been able to find anyone who could fit into his shoes and play the finishing role like he does. The kind of batsmen you have to bat between the 35th to the 50th over is very crucial. But despite that, it’s high time he gets a chance to bat up the order. Hopefully, I too will get a chance to do the same.
The team came into this series after a long layoff. Winning the series comprehensively must have really pleased you.
The batsmen have taken responsibility very well. We didn’t play any games before this and didn’t have too many practice sessions. It was imperative that whoever gets a start, goes on to make a substantial score and gets partnerships going with some of the other batsmen. That makes life easier for the men coming in. Thankfully, we have managed that right through the series.