In South Africa, Shikhar Dhawan was repeatedly getting dismissed trying to dispatch the short ball. On their first outing in New Zealand, four Indian players — Rohit Sharma, Dhawan, Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni — got out playing the pull shot. Still, the Indian captain said in the post-match interaction at Napier that leaving the bouncers all the time wasn’t an option. Excerpts.
On Shot selection
One of the options is not to play the shot, but out strength has been to play the shot. At times we will get caught because it’s a difficult shot to play. But we need to play it and master this shot because overseas you cannot allow the bowlers to dominate and cannot leave all of them. Not with two bouncers per overs. With four fast bowlers, that means 80 balls in 50 overs. We can always picks and choose when to play and when not play (the shot).
On Turning point
We lost three quick wickets of Virat, Jaddu and mine, and that was the turning point of the match. That was when we needed a partnership and we need to learn out of this. To go a bit further, we could have targetted the spinner with one of their bowlers (Milne) getting injured. We had two extra overs. but sadly the batsmen thought the other way round.
On No.4 experiment
The number four and five batsmen haven’t been consistent for us. Even if we don’t get hundreds or fifties from them, those slots are always crucial when the opposition scores 280-300 runs. After we lose early wickets, we need partnerships to rebuild and cannot play catch up, thus putting pressure on the lower middle order.
At the same time, we can admit that while not many batsmen scored runs but we were still able to get close to the target of 290 runs. It means that we have got plenty of firepower. We just need to apply ourselves better and ultimately it will see us through
Later, New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, speaking about Mitchell McClenaghan, couldn’t hide his satisfaction at the bouncing out falling in place. McClenghan took three of those four wickets that fell to the short pitched ball.
On McClenaghan’s bowling
He keeps producing the results. I think we bounced out four guys today, which is great. That’s the plan that we wanted to implement, and Mitch had a huge role to play in it.