Tiwary is a serious contender: Fletcher
Kandy, Aug 4: After a forgettable last season, India have begun the new season by beating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka, claiming the No. 2 spot in the ICC ODI rankings in the process.
Speaking to the media in the post-match press interaction, coach Duncan Fletcher analysed his team and discussed his wards.
On a series win being a good start for the season
Yes, I think it was a very good win from the point of view that [India] came from a long break. There was some sort of nervousness to see how they would start the season. We were obviously going to arrive here a little bit unfit. We have worked on the fitness regime and the results have shown here. They have played some good cricket. There is obviously room for improvement but I think we will be very pleased with the 4-1 result against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka.
On whether bowling was still an area of concern
It is difficult to assess the bowling. From our point of view, the wicket got better and better. I spoke to MS [Dhoni] about it. With the dew on it, it did ease the wicket out. In the end the bowlers did do a good job. It wasn’t that easy as proved when we batted second back in Colombo. Batting first the wicket held up a bit and batting second it got better and made the game a bit easier.
On Virat Kohli being a revelation and whether Irfan Pathan, who came in as a replacement, had sealed his place in the side
Virat’s [revelation did not come about] in this series. He has done well [before]. He did very well in Australia, especially in the one-dayers. He played some great innings here. The good thing was that he continued with that form. Normally players can go through short spells where they do well and then lose that form but he has maintained it, which is very, very good.
Irfan Pathan – I think he is a very useful cricketer. He puts in an all-round contribution. He is very professional on and off the field. He works hard at his game and he has got the results that he deserves.
On whether Irfan was the all-rounder they were looking for
I think he has got the potential. We just have to see him progress from here and see how he bowls and bats in India. He has done a good job for us at the moment.
On Manoj Tiwary’s position in the scheme of things
[Whenever] Manoj has been given opportunities, he has taken them well. He got a very good hundred in India against the West Indies. We have given him a chance here and he has done well. He bowled well the other day. He can put in a few overs when required but he has mainly come in as a batter. His temperament has shown that he is up for the big occasion. When the pressure is on, he has produced results. He has made people stand up and look at him. I will say that he is a serious contender for a regular place in the one-day side.
On the role of the mental conditioning and support staff that has helped India claw their way back from tough situations
There have been problems on previous away tours and we have discussed it. On quite a few occasions we have had the opposition in trouble and we have not been able to make sure that we maintain the pressure on them and take advantage of that. It is something we spoke quite a lot about – when we get ourselves into a situation, [we need to] make sure that we maintain our concentration levels. It is mainly a concentration situation when the game is really in the bag. And with batting line-ups going down all the way to No. 9 and 10 in cricket today, you can’t really take your foot off the pedal until you have bowled a side out. There have been occasions here where we have had a bit of a scare, where the opposition have come back at us. But it is nice to see that the [Indian team] have held their nerve and maintained the discipline that we require of them.
On his experience with the Indian side over the past year and expectations in the year ahead
It is always difficult [to take over] after [the team] have had a very successful year, like when you have won the ICC World Cup. I have been involved with another side that did the same thing afterwards, after having had a successful series like [India] won the World Cup. To maintain that sort of intensity is quite difficult, because sides tend to sit back a bit. But one must also consider that since then we have only had one series in India. Seen the amount of cricket we have played, we haven’t played in India [so much], which is where we are very strong, like any side is. I have seen other sides go away from home lately, over the last two-three years, and they have all struggled away from home. We have only had that one series [against West Indies] where we played some very good cricket in India. Beating Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka is very difficult – not many sides have been able to do it. Hopefully this gives the side a lot of confidence. When we get back to India we have some difficult tours coming up and hopefully we can play the good cricket that we know we can in India.
On Virender Sehwag’s fitness status
Virender just tweaked his leg the other day while running between the wickets. He just felt something go in his glute. The physio discussed it with me and then Viru came and said, “Now [with the revised rules] I would not be able to have a runner while batting.” You’ve really got to consider these injuries, which previously probably would have been minor injuries that you could have been able to get away with it if you had a runner. Now that the whole situation has changed, it is very high risk if you have to go in and can’t have a runner; you could be without a batsman after one ball. We just said that you can’t take those chances anymore.
On whether Rohit Sharma’s form was a worry for the team
People must consider that he has played well for us in the one-day side before. You have a look at him when he has batted under pressure for us while batting second. He has batted very well for us. So it’s not a pressure situation; it’s what most cricketers go through. They go through a dip in form and suddenly it just hangs in there and they are put under pressure. I am sure Rohit will come out of that situation.