Dhoni sheds light on his key players
MS Dhoni can finally heave a sigh of relief. India have finally broken their losing streak and won the ODI series against England. However, the Indian captain felt that the seven-wicket loss in the fifth match could have been avoided.
After taking the series 3-2, Dhoni spoke about the overall performance of his team and some of his key players. He said that the last match, although a defeat, was a good lesson for the batsmen in playing the moving ball.
Dhoni analysed the performance of a few of his players and observed a marked improvement in the likes of Ravindra Jadeja and Ishant Sharma. He also spoke of India’s long-standing need for a genuine all-rounder and hoped to have Jadeja and Irfan Pathan at his disposal on a regular basis.
Here’s what the Indian captain had to say about his men:
Once Dhoni’s go-to man, Ashwin’s wicket tally and his economy rate has seen a distinct downfall in the recent few matches. His penchant for experimenting with different deliveries has been cited as one of the main reasons for his ineffectiveness. Dhoni said that the off-spinner is improving gradually.
“In the last few games he has bowled well. He has stuck to one line and hasn’t overused the variations. Having said that, he needs to find the right balance between consistently landing the ball in the same area and using his variations, which is his strength. I think he’s learning it. Now with more men inside the circle, the spinners have to bowl differently and he’s coming to terms with that.”
The famine of runs from the opener’s bat has been a cause for India’s top-order collapses in the recent past. Dhoni, however, feels the left-hander is showing constant signs of regaining his form.
“In terms of runs, he’s going through a lean patch, but he’s one of the most experienced openers we’ve got. Besides, having the left-right combination at the top is important. I personally felt he batted well in the last few games – he wasn’t tentative and was quite decisive in his stroke-making. There have been signs of improvement and once he gets back to his 100 percent form, he’s an amazing cricketer to watch. He’s one opener who plays spin really well. Yes, we depend on him to play out 35 overs and that hasn’t happened of late. But it’s just a matter of time before he gets back to his best.”
The lanky fast bowler has come a long way from the battering he copped in the first ODI on the featherbed Rajkot track. Ishant’s pitch-map has improved with every match and Dhoni is pleased with that.
“Ishant is bowling really well and he’s not giving away free runs. Fast bowlers have to bowl in the death overs and he has been a bit expensive there. But we also need to see that he’s playing ODIs after a long time. His overall approach has been good and it’s a big positive for us.”
This young pacer has been a find for India. He can swing the ball, can bowl long spells and has shown good temperament. Calls for his inclusion in the Test side have already begun. Dhoni said that he will get his chances where he is most likely to succeed.
“Bhuvneshwar Kumar can swing the ball well. But before selecting him [for Tests] we’ll have to see what the wicket is like. He will do really well in places like England, Australia or South Africa, but not subcontinent tracks where you have to heavily rely on reverse-swing.”
The all-rounder has finally repaid for his captain’s unflinching faith in him. He has picked up nine wickets and played a match-winning cameo with the bat this series. Dhoni feels vindicated, but at the same time he wants Irfan Pathan to be fully fit and available for overseas tours.
“We have always struggled to find an all-rounder. It’s always good to have a seaming all-rounder, but Irfan is the only option we have for that and he’s not fit. For now we need someone like Jadeja. I personally have, for a long time, felt that he’s someone we need to look to groom. He has done well in this series and has improved with time. Once Irfan gets fit, we will be in a position to look at different combinations.”