India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was livid with his fast bowlers and said the pacers gave too much width and bowled short to New Zealand in the fourth ODI at the Seddon Park. The visitors lost the match to give the hosts an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.
“Right from the start, we gave away too many boundaries. We gave too much width to the batsmen and the bowlers bowled quite short which meant that they could freely score off them. It meant that we didn’t start off well,” said a dejected Dhoni after the Men in Blue couldn’t defend 279 runs.
“The spinners bowled quite well and then the fast bowlers came back on and they again gave away runs freely, which meant that we weren’t able to hang on to the pressure created by the spinners.
“It was a disappointing bowling performance from the fast bowlers. But the positive is that the spinners bowled really well,” he added.
When asked particularly as to why he chose to take off the spinners after both Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin had bowled well in their initial spells of five overs each, Dhoni replied: “Given the way how the fast bowlers bowled in the first ten overs, I wasn’t sure they would be able to keep the pressure on later. So I personally thought that it’s important to keep the spinners especially Jadeja and use them later, when the batsmen might have to go for the big shots.
“But the way the fast bowlers bowled in the middle overs it meant that they never really had to play those big shots. That was a crucial phase, where with the open fields we shouldn’t have given away too many runs. But we were giving a boundary every over and we were not able to build any pressure,” he said.
India made a couple of changes to their side ahead of this must-win game, dropping both Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina. Virat Kohli was asked to open the innings, while Ajinkya Rahane batted at number three. Ambati Rayudu played his first ODI since the Zimbabwe trip in mid-2013 and Stuart Binny made his India debut.
“We had to make these changes at some point. Raina was getting good starts but he was not able to convert those starts. Sometimes if you can take the individual away for a few games, he can relax and think freely about his game and that’s the reason why we rested both Shikhar (Dhawan) and Suresh Raina in this game,” Dhoni opined.
“We had a chat with Virat, and he was quite confident about opening. It allowed us to play Rahane at number three and Rayudu at number four, which allowed us to maintain the strength of our team.
“Rahane came in as an opener but a few months ago, along with the selectors, we decided that he is a good middle order batsman and he bats well there. We have tried him as opener earlier and it didn’t work, so we should keep trying him in the middle order,” added the Indian skipper.
In the end, it was once again the bowling woes that hampered India in this series and Dhoni said the bowlers need to apply their mind and try to improvise.
“When it comes to talent, we definitely have bowlers who can do well. But at the same time they will have to start using their brains more and improvise themselves,” he said.
“(Mohd.) Shami is someone who has been quite consistent, apart from this series. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been off this series but he’s a good bowler. At the end of the day they need to push themselves because with rule changes it is going to be quite tough. But it hasn’t been rule changes hurting us in this series, it has been bad bowling,” Dhoni signed off.