MS Dhoni reiterated Ravichandran Ashwin’s stance that if any team had it in them to turn around from a desperate situation, it was India. Going into the match against Pakistan after losing to New Zealand, the off-spinner had said they knew how to win matches. Having done that against Pakistan, Dhoni said it showed the character of the team.
“We’ve been in this position quite a few times. We know how to turn it around. To come back strong shows the character the boys have. It’s very important to back them. Still I feel that there are areas which we can improve,” said Dhoni on Saturday.
The India captain pointed out that net run-rate is one of the areas where the team would like to improve. “Our net run-rate is quite down after the first few games. It’s the priority in the next two games. It’s not only about winning but also have to look at it at some point of time,” he said.
Keeping a clean slate against Pakistan in ICC events has been a commendable job but Dhoni remained grounded despite the win. “There is also a reality that one day we will lose --- whether it is today or in 10 years or 20 years or 50 years. There is no such thing that you will always keep winning. Also, our team has evolved a lot, and somehow in ICC events our performances have been good of late, whether it’s the last Champions Trophy or the World Cup,” he said.
The key to the latest spate of victories against Pakistan has been Virat Kohli’s performance and Dhoni put it down to his hunger to perform. “His biggest plus point is he takes everything as a challenge. He wants to contribute in each and every game. That’s why, he prepares well; he takes care of his fitness. He understands how he is supposed to bat on different wickets to score runs,” said Dhoni.
“We all know that once he gets going, he always converts it into a big innings which I feel is one of the most important things for any youngster. When you’re scoring runs, make sure you score a lot of runs,” he said.
By sticking to the same team he had fielded in Nagpur, Dhoni showed he won’t be swayed by criticism. And even though Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina gave him little to cheer on Saturday, Dhoni seems to have made up his mind about not tinkering with the batting order. Asked specifically about Raina, Dhoni seemed ready with an answer. “That’s the obvious question people would ask if one or two batsmen are not scoring runs. If Shikhar doesn’t score runs, there will be questions why not Ajinkya for opener. It’s important to back players,” he said.
“Statistics say a lot of individuals can bat at No 3 but Virat has an edge. The same way I feel he (Raina) deserves that No 4 more than anyone else. Overall, he’s the best option,” he said.