India and Australia enter the fifth and final ODI at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday with the series at stake. On the eve of the match, India’s bowling coach Bharat Arun addressed the media and shared his thoughts on the team mindset after the loss in Mohali, whether experimentations will continue and Dhoni’s importance in the side. India’s jam-packed schedule in the series also meant Virat Kohli and Co. had an off day with no practice ahead of the final encounter.
“Considering the workload that the team has been subjected to and the fact that we have played two back to back matches is a reason. To be mentally and physically fresh for the all-important final, we did not practice today,” said Arun.
It is a no brainer that the team will be seeking a break after a poor outing in Mohali where the bowlers were carted around the park as Australia chased down a record 359. But Arun had a positive outlook to it.
“These are the bowlers who have really put us on track to a successful record of 75 percent. That is a huge success record for a team. Such things do happen (like Mohali ODI) and I am happy that it has happened now because it throws a lot of factors where we can improve especially before a big tournament like the World Cup.”
But the difference between the two sides was the innings of Ashton Turner’s pyrotechnics – 84 off 43 which took Australia across the finish line. So were the Indian bowlers unprepared for the assault and taken by surprise?
“You should give him credit. We had our plans ready for him but dew was a part of the game. Yes we did not bowl as well as we had plans for him but I am sure we will perform better if the same situation arises,” explained Arun.
The encounter in Kotla will be the last international game for India before squad selection for the all-important World Cup. When asked how settled is the team settled with the combination, Arun said, “The team is more or less settled with what the combination is. Yes, we would like to try out all our options before the World Cup so that there is no room for error in trying out the combinations. So that’s the reason we are trying different people at different positions.”
“But yes, there are certain areas that we need to address both in our batting or bowling. I would look at it as a big positive whatever has happened because it has occurred much before a major tournament like World Cup- it has thrown up areas where we really need to buck up, tighten up. The way has series has gone it has been a great learning curve.”
One of the major flaws in India’s performance in the previous match was the wicketkeeping errors committed by Rishabh Pant. But Arun maintained that comparisons with MS Dhoni are unfair.
“It is very unfair to compare Pant and Dhoni. Dhoni is a legend and his work behind the stumps is exemplary. He is a huge influence when Virat needs someone to talk to. Like I said earlier, we would like to try different combinations but that doesn’t mean those are the combinations that will be at the World Cup.”
“We would like to know how people perform under certain situations for us to have a much better and balanced team for the team for the World Cup. If it all we have to make mistakes it would be now rather than do it in a major tournament,” he added.
Arun was full of praise for both Kedar Jadhav and all-rounder Vijay Shankar.
“Vijay has gained in confidence, batted brilliantly, be it No.4, 6 or 7. The confidence from batting rubbed onto his bowling. He is touching 130 (kmph) and is looking a lot more confident,” he said.
“Kedar has also done the job on many occasions. But I have told my bowlers that as long as you don’t let him bowl, you have done a good job,” he laughed.