India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni expressed confidence that out-of-form Yuvraj Singh will come good in the remaining matches of the World Twenty20 but admitted that he is “under pressure and not in great touch”.
“Yuvraj is one of the best players of T20 but yes you can say that he is not in great touch at the moment. It becomes tough when you are dropped from ODIs and then you make a comeback in the T20 squad. So there’s bit of pressure on him,” Dhoni told reporters.
“It’s easy to say that it is a short format but when an individual comes into the squad, there is bound to be pressure on him,” he added.
Yuvraj scored a painstaking 10 off only 19 balls during Sunday’s seven-wicket win against West Indies but Dhoni was confident that Yuvraj has the ability to get back in form and win matches for his team.
“It takes one or two matches. Probably, he will get back into flow as we know how good a match-winner he is. He can turn a game on his own. Today (Sunday) the plan was to have a higher net run-rate but at the same time give Yuvraj a chance to settle his nerves. If he is in flow, Yuvi is a good asset to have,” Dhoni added.
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About Amit Mishra’s splendid form with back-to-back man of the match awards, Dhoni said that his only advice to the Haryana leggie was to back his strengths.
Asked what was his tips to Mishra, Dhoni smiled and said, “I told him, Just Play!”.
On a serious note, he further added: “People bowl or bat according to their strengths. He was feeling a bit of nerves against Pakistan and I went up to him and told him that you are known to turn the ball, flight it and vary the pace.
“I told him just don’t try to bowl the straighter one. Try to bowl back of length so that batsman can’t hit. I told him, biggest strength to flight and deceive batsman.
“During Pakistan game, I knew he was not bowling his hundred percent. I knew with that man-of-the-match performance, he will get better in coming matches. He bowled well against Gayle and used the odd variations. Their will be days when like other bowlers he may also get hit but it’s important that he backs his strength,” Dhoni said.
Similarly, the India skipper was also pleased that Bhuvneshwar Kumar bowled a splendid opening spell in which he had 16 dot balls.
“His (Bhuvneshwar) job was to use the new ball well and not give too many loose deliveries. Today there was a bit of help and he was bowling in the right areas. And so that’s how, he will contribute,” Dhoni said.
“Whenever there is a bit of help, he should bowl in right areas. Especially, in this game, he bowled brilliantly as he was able to swing the ball and length was also very crucial.”
Dhoni said that while Shami is one permanent choice for bowling at the ‘death’, he is also trying out options to see who among Jadeja, Ashwin and Mishra fit the bill.
“Bhuvi is a fantastic new ball bowler. I am not saying that he is a bad bowler at the death. Trying Jadeja at the death is an option I am trying to check as we will have a lot of big hitters coming in the next few matches,” he said.
“We have Shami, to whom we look upon as a death over specialist. I am trying to get one more bowler, it may be Jadeja, Ashwin or whoever, as a death over specialist.”
While Dhoni opened with Ashwin in the previous game, it was a calculated ploy to start with Bhuvneshwar on Sunday as he wanted to try a different option against Gayle.
“You (guys) expected me to open with Ashwin which means Ashwin was a normal choice. If you don’t bowl Ashwin, that means that’s a surprise! I think with new ball, Bhuvi is someone who has troubled Chris Gayle to some extent. I think even today (Sunday) he bowled really well.
“It was more of changing the plan when needed. I wanted to bowl Ashwin later depending on how many wickets they lose in Powerplay. I thought of using faster bowler for three to four overs, so that when Gayle starts hitting, I have Ashwin to push him for big shots against a bowler he has more chance of getting out.”
The 32-year-old turned a bit philosophical when someone remarked that now he can “afford to smile” at his bowler’s performance.
“I still smile when I lose. I know cricket is a big part of our lives but it is not the only life we lead. Of course, you are disappointed when you lose a game but there will be times when you won’t win,” Dhoni said.
“As far as bowling concerned, I am really happy how they have performed. Yes, there is a bit of help for them but at the same time you need to execute your plans well. Especially in this format, you have got couple of big hitters in the opposition and you have to carefully plan them out.
“I was really happy that our spinners along with part timers and the fast bowlers have done really well. Still there’s long way to go in the tournament. Still there are two matches left in the league.”
Asked about the performance of the Indians fielders, who dropped a few high catches, Dhoni said: “It is not a problem with Indian team only. There has been some catches that has been dropped by other teams also. I don’t know whether it’s a surrounding, but fielders in deep are finding it difficult to judge the ball.
“I don’t know any other reasons but we need to overcome the problem because if we drop a big hitter, we might end up giving a lot of runs which will be difficult to chase. It’s definitely a problem to some extent but we don’t know whether it’s a technical fault or not.”