Hammered all through, India’s bowling woes dominated Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s assessment of the ODI debacle against Australia and the skipper said the national team needs to have different attacks for all three formats of the game.
“As we move forward, we have to get aligned as to who are our best T20 and ODI bowlers, and who are our Test bowlers and we have to segregate accordingly. We can’t have similar bowlers in all formats,” Dhoni said at the post match press conference.
“We have been struggling when it comes to the team composition. Even when we came here last time, we didn’t have a good line-up. We did well in the World Cup because the bowlers picked up and bowled well. Our batting has always been settled, but we have also make mistakes while struggling with our bowling.”
That he is still not sure about the abilities of Rishi Dhawan and Gurkeerat Mann was evident when asked why he did not start hitting earlier in Saturday’s cliffhanger during which India chased down a record 331 to clinch a consolation win.
“Considering what happened in Canberra, I didn’t want to play the big shot and take chances, because after me there were only Gurkeerat Mann, Ravindra Jadeja and Rishi Dhawan. So I thought if I am finding it difficult, why will they find it easy. The good thing was that Manish Pandey was set and the partnership kept building as neither of us got out.”
However, he was all praise for centurion Manish Pandey and debutant pacer Jasprit Bumrah.
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“The kind of innings Manish has played today will give him an extra 10-15 ODIs, where you can really settle in and start to do what you need to at the international level, adapting to the demands of the game. A lot will change when you play at different venues and in different conditions. As of now he is someone who looks good at No five,” Dhoni said on Saturday.
“Manish batted really well, but we are forgetting about Jasprit Bumrah’s bowling. He was fantastic. The very first game he played, he bowled well with new ball, in the middle and in the death also. That’s the kind of bowlers we are looking for.
“He has got the variations, along with an awkward action. We need to help take pressure off bowlers because someone or the other is conceding 75 runs from 10 overs always. In turn, it also puts pressure on the batting line up,” he added.
“Manish paced his innings very well. At times you think to play big shots at crucial times but the grounds here are very big. If you mistimed the shot, you will get out, but if you exploit the same, you will get runs which doesn’t happen on smaller grounds.
“So you have to rely on running and when we had our partnership I told him the same thing. I told him whatever happens you will get atleast two boundaries, and ultimately we will get those runs. As far as player development is concerned this innings will be very important for him and he will have to keep in mind the good things he did in this game,” he said.
He did show some sympathy for the bowlers, who have been taken to task throughout the series.
“We need to give credit to our bowlers also in the same way we have credited Australian bowlers whenever they have won matches. Umesh Yadav had a bad day, going for a lot of runs, and Rishi Dhawan shared that responsibility.
“Between them they bowled in a crucial time for us as the runs were flowing. Other bowlers also bowled well, Ravindra Jadeja in the middle overs and Jasprit Bumrah was fantastic playing in his first game. It becomes easier when youngsters come in and perform in the first five games that they play,” the skipper said.
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Looking ahead to the T20Is, the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Ashish Nehra and Suresh Raina have joined up with the team. It will alter the team composition drastically, despite this heart-warming victory in the final ODI.
“Winning is good. Process is important because it helps you win games. The last couple times we were here, we lost the series. We kept saying that give batsmen some time and they will adapt. They have done well in this series, which means that with the kind of talent we have, along with some grooming, we can do well.
“I haven’t seen many series where 300 runs were scored considering and twice there were chances of us chasing down the scores. It was a fantastic series overall, but there are some areas that we definitely need to improve,” he added.
“Luck was with us today a bit, barring the Rohit dismissal. It was a good win for us today and helps us look forward. Looking ahead to the T20s, we have 3-4 different players coming in. How quickly they adapt straightaway remains to be seen because they will feature in our playing eleven. The batsmen here are batting well so we have to carry that going forward,” he concluded.