England selectors can take a leaf out of Dhoni's book
MS Dhoni has often won games for India on his own. However, at Edgbaston, he should have put more faith in Ambati Rayudu, writes Sourav Ganguly.cricket Updated: Sep 09, 2014 03:16 IST
MS Dhoni won a game in the Caribbean on his own but the strategy was understandable as he had Ishant Sharma at the other end.
At Edgbaston, after hitting a six off the first ball, he should have backed Ambati Rayudu, who was in good form in the series and has won pressure games for the Mumbai Indians in the IPL. This allowed the bowler to bowl at just one batsman and not alter the line. Nonetheless, it was an exciting T20 game.
Although India won the one-day series, their Test performance requires introspection and the selectors need to take a hard look at a lot of things before they embark on the tough tour of Australia.
They have lost 13 Test matches in the last five overseas tours since 2011, and that is not acceptable from a top cricket-playing nation.
For me, Ajinkya Rahane has been the best player for India in the last two months. He is a quiet, old-fashioned cricketer, different from today's generation, which is flamboyant and expressive.
Virat Kohli struggled throughout the series and will be disappointed with his form. He is a class act and this would be a blip in his career. What is important is that he should learn from this tour and come back a better player. His weakness outside the off-stump would have been noticed by all in world cricket and he has to be a lot tighter there in the future.
India's bowling did well in patches. They are a young and inexperienced side and will need guidance to get better. Mohd Shami bowled superbly in the one-dayers, especially in the death overs, but he has to mould himself into a Test bowler as well.
He has the talent to do well in the longer format and shoulder the responsibility in overseas conditions. What he needs to work on is his fitness and ability to run in for 20 overs in a day. His run-up in limited-overs cricket was a lot aggressive but he must work towards becoming a good Test bowler because that's what people will remember in the long run.
England would be happy to finish the series with a win, and it was a much-improved performance since the start of the one-day series. They were outplayed in the first three games but showed lot of character to come back in the last two matches. They are a young one-day side and still trying to find a combination to take them forward.
The likes of Alex Hales, Joe Root, Jos Buttler will go on to become good shorter format players if persisted with and the England selectors should take a leaf out of Dhoni's book and in the way he has persisted with Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja.
They must remember that there is no substitute for experience and with time Root & Co will learn how to play one-day cricket, pace their innings well and take the team to better positions.
(The writer is a former India skipper)