Seeking to bury any perceived differences with his spin spearhead Ravichandran Ashwin, India’s limited over skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday hailed the off-spinner saying he has “bailed” the team out on numerous occasions.
“As I have said, Ashwin has bailed me out in a lot of situations - whether bowling in first six or in the slog phase. He is a bowler who can come in and do well at any time,” Dhoni said, trying to clear the air about under-bowling the Tamil Nadu bowler, right from the start of the World T20.
Dhoni was answering a question in reference to the premier offspinner being brought on as late as the 16th over to bowl for the first time and then taken off in the IPL’s season-opening game on Saturday between his new team - Rising Pune Supergiants - and defending champions Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium.
“It’s a subject, like revealing strategy. Ashwin is a matured bowler. He can bowl at any point of time. I knew the moment they (Mumbai Indians) lost a few wickets there was pressure on their middle or lower middle order,” Dhoni said at a media conference, where he was announced as brand ambassador of mobile handset brand, Lava.
The Ranchi super star also explained how, with MI reeling at 30 for 4 inside five overs, he thought it was the ideal time to bring on debutant leg spinner Murugan Ashwin to bowl his full four-over quota and remove signs of nervousness from the youngster’s mind.
“It was a very good platform for leg spinner Ashwin (1 for 16) to come in. Since you watched the game, you would have seen he is not someone who bowls a lot of short deliveries, but he was feeling the pressure.
“I thought it was more important for me to give him those four overs as in the longer run I need him as a wicket taking option, and I felt at that point of time if I can give him the four overs it will give him the confidence to come back probably in the second and third game,” he said.
“It was a process of giving him confidence, but at the same time we were attacking from the other end, Rajat Bhatia was bowling well using the conditions, that was the reason. (Ravi) Ashwin bowled one over and after that I thought going with fast bowlers was a better option.