Mahendra Singh Dhoni knows how to pace his innings according to varied match situations which still makes him an asset for India, said former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie. Dhoni has started the year in style, scoring two half-centuries in successive ODIs as he rolled back time to finish the Adelaide ODI to level the three-match series 1-1.
“India have benefitted from Dhoni’s finishing ability for more than a decade. They are still benefitting from it. They benefitted from his experience when they were down at 4-3 in Sydney as well. He was a bit slow in Sydney but you have to understand why. He played the situation,” Gillespie told PTI.
“And it is tough to keep coming down the order and playing as per different situations. In Adelaide, he had a completely different situation, so he played differently (in the second ODI). He has played over 300 ODIs so he knows how to play these different situations,” he added.
India chased down 299 riding on skipper Virat Kohli’s 39th ODI hundred. Gillespie termed Kohli’s hundred as an “absolute masterclass” and rated the Indian captain as someone who is a notch above his peers.
“It was an absolute masterclass from Kohli. He is a class player and a different batsman to everyone else. Numbers speak for themselves and you genuinely don’t need to add anything to it. Thirty nine hundreds and 10,000 plus runs in ODI cricket in 50 fewer innings than Tendulkar.
“And we all knew how good a player Tendulkar was. It is simply incredible what Kohli is doing. He is the best in world cricket at the moment, simple,” Gillespie was at loss of words to praise the legend in the making. But the Sussex and Adelaide Strikers’ coach said that India were too dependent on Kohli, albeit he refused to label the middle order “shaky”.
The likes of Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu last played cricket in November, as also did opener Shikhar Dhawan, and their rustiness has shown in the first two ODIs of the year. Gillespie said that it helps to play as much cricket as possible, but players today do need to find a play-rest balance.
“I wouldn’t say that the Indian middle-order is looking shaky. They have a lot of good batting talent, and a couple of them were coming from rest or injury. They have a well-balanced side and enough batting firepower, even if they do rely on Kohli a lot,” Gillespie observed.
“Ideally, (players) would be like to play more, no doubt. But you have to find that balance between rest and playing constantly, so they can recover physically as well as mentally. You have to balance it so they get enough batting preparation and that only happens when you are playing games as opposed to batting in the nets,” Gillespie replied with regards to Rayudu’s rustiness.
“These batsmen would have done plenty of net training but spending time in the middle is vital. Judging how to play an innings in different conditions are things you can only learn in the middle. It is best to get as much batting practice as you can,” he said.
‘Bowling attack makes India WC favourites along side England’
Former Australia fast bowler Jason Gillespie feels the current Indian bowling attack led by Jasprit Bumrah makes the team one of the favourites for the upcoming ICC World Cup, along side hosts England. “I think the Indian attack is well balanced. Bumrah has been rested for obvious reason but their attack is still quite good,” Gillespie told PTI in an interview.
“Everyone offers different things, and you add Bumrah to it, so they are well placed to mount a challenge for the World Cup. I think England are the obvious favourites, but India won’t be far behind,” he insisted. Gillespie singled out Bumrah for special praise and said the young right-arm pacer’s unorthodox action makes him a different bowler from others.
“I enjoy watching Bumrah bowl. He just ambles in but when he gets to the crease, he almost has a slingshot action. He bowls at good pace, hurries the batsmen up, and he can also change his pace a lot. He is a very fine bowler,” the 43-year-old former pacer said.
“His action does stand out. It is a braced front leg, delayed bowling arm action. It gets you to the crease quickly, and delivers that sling shot. It is what generates his pace. “But you need to be strong to be able to do that. Bumrah is robust and fit to bowl long spells in Test cricket. He keeps his pace up throughout a Test and this is what makes him an exciting bowler,” Gillespie said.
India and Australia are tied at 1-1 in the ongoing three-match ODI series with the decider scheduled to be played at Melbourne on Friday. The Australian team, which is currently going through a rebuilding phase, are eyeing its first ODI series win since January 2017 and Gillespie said it is the best for opportunity for youngsters to stake a claim in the World Cup-bound team.
“Obviously they are missing a couple key personnel from both batting and bowling perspectives. But the team will look very different in the World Cup. So it is a wonderful opportunity for these players and selectors to look at different options in pressure situations,” said the Adelaide Strikers’ coach.
“It is a great opportunity for young players to show what they can do and enjoy the moment of representing their country. It gives selectors more information when they get together to pick the World Cup squad,” Gillespie added.