It’s been six months since Mahendra Singh Dhoni quit Test cricket but the manner in which he used to approach the shorter format “would not change” as his philosophy is to adapt as per the demands of the situation.
Questioned if his approach has changed at all, Dhoni responded in negative.
“No, it will be quite the same because what’s important is for the team to win. And we will have to see what kind of roles and responsibilities suit the individuals playing in the XI, and accordingly, we will decide. Being adaptive and constantly looking to improve is something that’s important at the international level,” Dhoni said on Wednesday at the pre-match press conference on the eve of the first ODI against Bangladesh.
“The regime is still the same. As I said it’s the demand of the game. Its not about me but as to what the team demands from me and what the situation is when I go into bat. So it will still be the same. It also depends on where I am batting. If I am batting at 5 and 6, the demands are very different compared to if I am batting at 3 and 4,” Dhoni said.
Recently Dhoni trained at Delhi’s National Stadium for a day under local coach M P Singh.
“Let us not make it complex. It’s a small thing that keeps on going. It’s a lot to talk about but it’s very basic and very simple. You can have your own idea,” the skipper said.
While the target is to win the series but Dhoni also stressed on the importance to switch off during rain-breaks as it can hamper the momentum.
“Our target first and foremost is to win the series by taking one game at a time. That is something that makes our job slightly easy. Because there is also chance of rain, so it is important to remain focussed.
“If we gather some kind of momentum, it’s important that we switch off at the right time with the rain break. And once the time comes for us to switch on, we should be able to do that and try to get as many runs as possible.”
Asked if he has followed Bangladesh’s performance during their 3-0 series win against Pakistan recently, Dhoni sounded a bit dismissive.
“Frankly its very difficult for us to watch any other nation playing because we play throughout the year. Yes, I have said “thank you” to one of the formats but still the amount of cricket that has happened its very difficult to follow any other series. As far as videos are concerned, we have the luxury of video analyst. More than that I cant really comment on it,” said Dhoni.
Dhoni said that Bangladesh can do even better provided they have good first-class teams providing a supply line of players.
“It’s more important to have a good first-class team and I feel the upcoming players in Bangladesh, most of them have done well whenever they have got an opportunity to play. That’s definitely good for them because to have a bigger pool of players is something that’s important so that if a few of your top players get injured because of the amount of cricket they are playing, somebody is replaced.”
Dhoni also did not divulge anything about playing XI.
“We will see whatever the best XI is. Not start new season. It’s closing towards end of last season. One more series after this. Then officially, you can say it’s off-season. Then a new season starts after that.”
The skipper praised the Bangladesh ODI side.
“They are a very good ODI team. Also if you see they have been playing ODI cricket for a long time. And also with their T20 coming in, it gives the guys more exposure and at the same time it gives them the right kind of calculative power as to when they can take the risk and when its important to back off.
“I have always felt they had a very good ODI side. They have shown improvement when it comes to Test cricket but obviously its played over 5 days, couple of innings each so you have to play bit more consistent cricket. As time progresses you will see them improving.”
Dhoni also made it clear that the core of this team will be going into the 2017 Champions Trophy in England as well as the 2019 World Cup in Old Blighty.
“If you look at the top four or five batsmen, it seems that if they are fit and are in decently good form, they are the ones who may go into the next World Cup or the Champions Trophy. But maybe, we need to improve is the bottom three, maybe after the first four. 5,6 & 7 and particularly 7 because they are very crucial.
“The reason being more of often that the No 7 batsman for you, 90 percent of the time he has to bowl you 10 overs. So we are still looking (at an all-rounder). Last one and a half years, I don’t think our bottom order has got a lot of opportunity to bat specially in the subcontinent,” the skipper added.
“The top-order has done a remarkable job because of which 5,6 & 7 haven’t had many opportunities to bat. It becomes a bit difficult, the reason being if somebody is batting at 7, if he goes in one game where we are 5 or 6 down and he has to score that 50-60 runs. You get an opportunity like that maybe in 10-15 games.”
While there was liberal praise for Bangladesh crowd who throng in large numbers at the stadiums to the support the ‘Tigers’, Dhoni was not particularly amused about the traffic problems as the city moves at slow pace.
“The people here love their cricket. They come to support their team, they enjoy their cricket and I feel that’s something very important for an international side if you have people of your country loving your sport coming to back you in the stadium. It just pushes you to do even better, give in more than 100 percent.
“Yes, the traffic has gone worse from what it was but other than that the people are nice. It’s a good place, provide the traffic.”
Dhoni on spin twins: Ashwin “improving”, Jadeja “confident”
Mahendra Singh Dhoni during the last four years has depended on Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja for performing the spinners’ duties and is satisfied with how the Tamil Nadu tweaker and Saurashtra left-armer have progressed so far.
Talking on Ashwin, Dhoni said,”He (Ashwin) has shown improvement. That’s something very important, especially for a Test cricketer because you play under different circumstances.
You play in the sub-continent and then you play outside. You try to do things in a different way but what’s important is for the individual to keep on learning in every game.
“It pushes you to learn something and new and I felt that this is something he has done very well. He is a thinking cricketer, thinks about his game a lot. And that’s the reason he has shown a lot of improvement. It’s good to have somebody like him because he can also bat a bit. In Test cricket, even the lower-order needs to contribute. If you get that extra 40-50 runs it can have a big impact on the game,” the skipper
lavished his praise on Ashwin, who got a five-for in the one-off Test at Fatullah on a placid track.
Dhoni, who has backed Jadeja a lot said that he is gaining in confidence after coming back from a shoulder injury.
“He did a decent job in the IPL. I felt even the World Cup, he did a good job for us. Definitely, if you come after an injury, especially if it’s a shoulder injury, you tend to think a bit about it if it’s your bowling arm.
“I feel he has got more and more confidence about that, getting out of injury and we have seen a lot of improvement. So hopefully, we will continue with it.”
Every individual’s captaincy approach is different: Dhoni
Notwithstanding Virat Kohli’s theory of going in with five specialist bowlers in Tests, ODI skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday said every individual’s approach to captaincy is different and he would stick to his strategies in the limited-overs format against Bangladesh.
Back in the saddle after a month-long break post the 50-over World Cup, Dhoni and company are gearing up for the three ODIs starting Thursday.
“We will stick to the ODIs. I know it’s a very good question but lets stick to the ODIs. Every individual is different. All of you ask questions but your question is very different,” Dhoni responded to a query on Kohli’s preferred Test tactics in the pre-match presser on Wednesday.
“In the same way when it comes to captaincy we try to keep it simple. At the same time individuals need to be different. You don’t want everybody to do the same thing. Ultimately it’s the individual’s character that’s more important,” he added.
The Kohli-led India did well in the one-off Test after making the hosts follow-on in a match interrupted by frequent spells of rain. With more than 250 overs lost due to monsoon showers, India bundled Bangladesh for 256 after declaring their first innings at 464 for six. Dhoni acknowledged the on-field rivalry between the two sides.
“It has been nice, it has been subtle. It has been very professional in the sense both the teams playing at their best wanting to win for their country. But we have not had any incident on the field which I feel is very important as far as sports is concerned. It has been good, it’s moving in the right direction,” he said.
Bangladesh had reacted strongly to a couple of umpiring decisions in the quarterfinal game against India during the World Cup in Australia and many termed this series a revenge time for the hosts. Dhoni though, rubbished it.
“Which controversy? Which game are you are talking about? That’s like 4-5 months back. Anything about last couple of days I remember. Let’s not get into Bangladesh, it’s a… it was a game of cricket,” he opined.