Good to have problem of plenty: MS Dhoni
Colombo, Sep 23: Indian captain, MS Dhoni, is facing a problem of plenty as the team enters the Super Eight stage of the 2012 ICC World Twenty20. A good all-round performance by the team and important contributions by comeback players as well as those who were going through a lean patch has increased the number of options Team India has.
With a convincing win over England, the team will be looking to carry the momentum ahead. Speaking to the media after the match, skipper MS Dhoni reflected on India’s performance.
Excerpts from his post-match press conference:
On whether India now faces a problem of plenty in the bowling department after playing with five bowlers
Yes, there is a problem of plenty; but I can assure that having a problem of plenty is better than not having that one guy [who can make the difference]. It will be a difficult decision to make in the next games the reason being, who will you drop? The middle order has done well and the two openers that we have got are the best openers. They can win matches on their own, and Gautam [Gambhir] did really well in this particular game.
I don’t know what we will do as of now. We have to see what is best for the side and decide accordingly. Selection will depend on the wicket. If it is a fresh wicket and hard-rolled wicket, then the spinners may not be that effective.
On Harbhajan Singh’s bowling
I think he bowled well, especially when it came to his length, he didn’t bowl short. He invited the batsmen to drive by pitching the ball up. He was playing with a very aggressive mindset. He wasn’t particular about where he wanted fielders, like he normally is; he was very focussed and he really wanted to do well. It is a very big positive for us, because if we play with one batsman less, then he is a player who can contribute with the bat lower down the order.
On whether everything is going well with the team as they enter the Super Eights
Yes, because the performance has been good. We have improved since the game against Afghanistan. But going ahead in the tournament we will be facing big teams and it is necessary to perform consistently. We will have to put up our best performance in every match from here on. Everything looks good now and hopefully we will do well in the next three games as well.
On Rohit Sharma
I personally rate him very highly, [but] that doesn’t mean that I don’t rate Yuvraj [Singh] highly because I promoted him. I think he is someone who can play all different kinds of strokes right from the very start. Especially in this format, he is one of the most successful batsmen along with Suresh Raina. He is someone who has been quiet consistent in the T20 format. He can play in different gears. If needed, he can accelerate, he can play the big strokes and run well between the wickets at the same time. Our strength is to play the big shots, so wickets in hand is also something that is crucial. So, the first ten overs are very critical. If we don’t lose too many wickets and have 70-75 runs on the board, then it is an ideal platform for the batsmen coming in to come and play the big shots. He is taking up the responsibility very well. What will come in the next few games I don’t really know, because we have a strategy and we are sending batsmen in to bat accordingly. If the conditions remain the same you may see him bat at the same spot.
On Gautam Gambhir
He is one of the key players. His place in the side is very quite critical; he is someone who is very aggressive by nature. He is someone who has struggled a lot to get into the Indian side, so I feel today’s innings will help him a lot. I think the way he batted, he paced his innings really well. He had a lean patch in the last few games that he played or even in the Test series that he played. He didn’t have a brilliant patch that he had [earlier]; but innings like these help a lot. Once you get those 30, 40, 50-odd runs all of a sudden you are a changed batsman. His responsibility is to take his innings through. He can be aggressive against the spinners. He is one of the best players of spin that we have got and the rest of the batsmen can play around him. So, I think his performance was very critical today and I can only see it improving in the next stage of the tournament.
On Virender Sehwag’s absence
It had nothing to do with injury. We requested all the three players, [Ravichandran] Ashiwn, Zak [Zaheer Khan] and Viru Paa if we can rest them, and they agreed. That’s all.
On whether the performance today would have lifted the confidence of the bowlers
Confidence is something really important especially for our bowlers. Once they get confident they stick to their plans really well. So, it is important that the five bowlers who were playing, they do well. They responded really well. They started off a little tentatively, but as the game progressed they got better and better. Piyush [Chawla] bowled really well. He has a brilliant wrong one; so if the batsman will commit a mistake, he has a very good chance of getting the batsmen out with his googly. Bhajji again is very consistent with his line and length. He has used the Doosra and the top-spinner really well. I was very happy with their performance.
Among the fast bowlers, Irfan bowled well; he gave us those couple of early wickets, which is very important for us because we are a side that tends to leak few runs in the first six overs. So with that we can put pressure on the opposition in the middle overs.
On the England batting and their performance on subcontinent wickets
Something that is a bit new to them, a bit different to them. Even when the ball swings in England, still there is a bit of pace and you can play your big strokes or play the way you want to play. But in the subcontinent, when it starts turning and the ball really stops [before coming on to the bat], you have to be very careful when you are playing those drives because if you are slightly late or slightly early the slip is there or the short cover is there. But they are a very good side. You have to respect the opposition; they are a side who has done really well in the last one year in all the formats. You will see them adapt to the conditions slowly and get better in the future.
On the batting
One could say that we were short by 30 runs [...]. We can also give credit to the England bowlers who bowled well. [...] It is always good to look for the score that is a par score. We were looking for 160-odd runs and yes we would have been happy with 175. In the last five overs we played well. From the 10th to 15th over we slowed down a bit; it can always happen. You have international bowlers who are very good and talented and it was a game where the pressure bowlers put the pressure and our batsmen were not able to score runs freely.
On whether this was Harbhajan Singh’s best performance
I think I have seen Bhajji bowl better, but given the circumstances of this performance, [where he was] coming back after a period of time and getting a chance, where he has to prove himself that he is very good; he [is under] a certain amount of pressure. It can be his expectation level only, [but] that desperation is there. So, it was important that he did well in this particular game. By doing well, I don’t mean he has to take four-five wickets; even if he takes two wickets and concedes 24 runs that would have been a very good performance. He is someone who can do better than this, but in the given circumstances it was a brilliant performance by him.