Since leaving for South Africa in the beginning of December 2013, India have played seven one-day internationals. They are yet to register their first win. For this, India captain MS Dhoni blamed his bowlers, especially the faster ones. Speaking to the media after India lost the New Zealand series and their top ranking in one-dayers on Tuesday, Dhoni lashed out at his players, saying it was time for them to start thinking for themselves.
On his bowlers
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. Mohammed 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 the rule changes hurting us in this series, it has been bad bowling.
On bowling short and wide
Frankly, our bowling was quite disappointing. This was a kind of wicket where one thing you don’t want to do is to bowl short and wide. I think we consistently did that with the new ball and the older ball. We often complain about the five fielders outside the circle, but when you bowl short and wide it doesn’t matter. I think the fast bowlers gave away too many runs. Talking about spinners, they bowled well and hit the right areas.
On India’s batting
We committed the same mistakes when it comes to batting. We lost wickets at crucial times, which has been the case so far right through the course of this series. But even then we were able to get close to 280-odd runs which I thought was good enough, provided we bowled well on this wicket. But that was not the case.
On the top-order
We struggled at the top. I think the last game we got some kind of start going but this time game again we struggled. Once 10 overs are gone, we lost couple of wickets. We have to get some kind of partnership going, we did get some kind of partnership going late in the day but we lost wickets at the wrong time which means it puts pressure on the middle-order and that frustrates you because then you fail to get those extra 15-20 runs for a par plus score.
On holding back spinners
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.
On drastic changes to XI
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.
On opening with Kohli
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.