Dhoni critical of Jadeja, backs Raina, plays up cool credentials
Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was in full swing after the Men in Blue earned a hard-fought win against West Indies on Friday.WorldCup2015 Updated: Mar 08, 2015 08:16 IST
Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was in full swing after the Men in Blue earned a hard-fought win against West Indies on Friday.
Dhoni felt that a big deal was being made out of Suresh Raina's susceptibility to short-pitched bowling and stressed that the Uttar Pradesh player was the best bet to bat at No 5 since Yuvraj Sing vacated that slot.
Playing on the front foot, Dhoni also made it clear that he was not happy with Ravindra Jadeja's performance with the bat at number eight.
What's more, the skipper said he 'also felt pressure', but knew how to handle it. Here's your guide to what MSD said.
ON SURESH RAINA
Asked about Raina's dismissal -- he failed to cope with a rising delivery and was caught behind off Dwayne Smith for 22 against West Indies, Dhoni said, "It's the media that makes a big deal of this. Batsmen from other countries also get out to short-pitched deliveries but it is something that is put in our head - 'he (Raina) is the one who gets out to the short ball, bowl short to him'. I think he is batting well."
After India's four-wicket win against West Indies at WACA, Dhoni added, "Just look at the history of Indian cricket and the number of people who have batted at No 5. And just check how many have been successful? Yuvraj Singh must be the only player who did consistently well for us and then he got promoted to bat at No 4. Otherwise, we have kept shuffling people. You will have to ask some of the batsmen who have batted at that number -- Virat has batted at that number, Rohit has batted, and nobody has been really successful."
Dhoni was critical of all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja who has failed in all three matches against big oppositions -- with scores reading 3, 2 and 13 against Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies, respectively.
"I think he needs to improve. He needs to step up really because we have a lot of faith in him, but at the end of the day you can't really play with hope. What you want is actually performance on the field," Dhoni said about his Chennai Super Kings teammate.
Dhoni, though, also had words of praise for Jadeja.
"He has that capability. You don't get three triple hundreds in India just because you know how to bat. He's definitely talented, but he needs to keep believing in himself. Every batsman is tested in a few areas. They will bowl short-pitched deliveries to him. He will have to find a way in which he can tackle it because every batsman tackles it in a different way. So he'll have to find a way, what he can really do."
He added, "The problem is that the side looks better when we play with two spinners. Even though Jadeja is not performing really well as a batsman, he still gives you that comfort if he is at Nos 6 or 7, one of the slots, it looks like a slightly better side."
Dhoni was all praise for his bowlers after the Men in Blue beat the West Indies to move into the quarter-finals of the cricket World Cup.
"I think our bowlers did a very good job. They didn't try too much, they stuck to their line and length, it had a bit more bounce, gave quite a few wides bowling bouncers, but we also got wickets with the bouncer, so very happy with our performance," said Dhoni.
"I think it was a difficult wicket, even initially with the new ball. There was some variable bounce, it was doing a bit. It settled down later, there was some swing for the West Indies bowlers as well -- with the new ball," he added.
India for once were tested in the tournament as Dhoni and company were made to work hard to reach their 183-run target, which they eventually got in 39.1 overs. In trouble at 134 for six, Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin stitched together an unbeaten 51-run stand to help India get their fourth win on the trot.
DHONI'S COOL TALK
A regular saviour under tough circumstances for the team, Dhoni said he also feels the pressure like others but manages the rescue acts as he knows how to get out of potentially dangerous situations.
Dhoni's unbeaten 45 was the cornerstone of India's patchy win against the Caribbean.
"Everyone thinks, I don't feel any pressure. I feel the same pressure as anyone else. It's just that I have been in those situations a lot, so I know how to get out of that situation. But it's not that I will always succeed. But when you know ways to wriggle out, it becomes easier."
Dhoni has improvised his game a lot in the last decade and is now an acclaimed finisher in limited overs cricket.
"My batting, I have tuned it up a lot after the 2006 tour of Pakistan. I have consistently batted lower down after that. My slot was after 30 overs. I had to improvise according to the demands. There were times when we were batting first and I went for the big shots. Again while chasing, I had the job to hit out or stabilise.
He said, "I have never batted with a rigid mindset. I have always batted according to the demands of the team and the corresponding situations. Because of that, I have benefitted. Very satisfying, so long as the team wins, it is all good."
Dissecting his own game, he noted, "The number at which I bat, obviously, there is pressure. Either that of last 5-7 overs while batting first or like today (against WI), a pressure of chasing. It was a realistic scenario, I had to have partnerships with the lower-order."