MS Dhoni: I was happy with the way the individuals turned up and the way we played cricket today

Mahendra Singh Dhoni reflects on India’s victory over United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the World Cup 2015 on Saturday.

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni reflects on India’s victory over United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the World Cup 2015 on Saturday.



Q: How does it feel playing a team like UAE and what does that team require to be really competent?

MS Dhoni (MSD): I think when it comes to international cricket or any sport, you have to respect the opposition, irrespective of which team you are playing. That’s what was told to the team, that let’s not see who we are playing; let’s play the game of cricket. When the batsmen are batting, watch the ball and treat it the way it needs to be treated, because at the end of the day, every wicket that you take over here will be counted as a World Cup wicket and every run you score will be counted as a World Cup run. That was good enough motivation to come over here and repeat the kind of performances or the way we executed in the past few games. I think I was happy with the way the individuals turned up and the way we played cricket today.


Q: Regardless of who you played tonight, good for Rohit [Sharma] to get some runs?


MSD: Well, he was getting runs before he got injured. The past couple of games he didn’t get runs, but it’s not like he’s out of form, so it’s good for every individual to get a bit of run, and also it was a good wicket, I think similar to what we played during the tri-series. So, overall, it was good for everyone; Shikhar [Dhawan] is getting runs, Rohit is amongst runs, so overall it is looking good for us.


Q: Did you think that [Ravichandran] Ashwin would take the most wickets, or are you not surprised?


MSD: I think Ash [Ashwin] bowled really well. What’s really important is according to the wicket you have to change your bowling to some extent. You have to find the right length and the right trajectory to bowl, and I felt Ash did that really well. He did use his faster one, also, and he was quite successful to get a bit of swing on it. And that was the reason he got a couple of wickets out of those particular deliveries. But I felt his line and length were superb and the pace at which he bowled. Also [Ravindra] Jadeja got a bit of turn later on. I introduced him quite late. I wanted to go a few more overs with the fast bowler, but he bowled really well. Whatever opportunity he got, he bowled well.


Q: We’ve seen a lot of great impactful performances from the likes of AB de Villiers, Brendon McCullum, you’ve been one of the impactors yourself. What does a captain do when a person like Gayle or AB de Villiers is on a roll in the middle? How challenging is it to deal with that kind of innings on the ground?


MSD: Well, frankly speaking, you can’t do much because if the individual is hitting sixes, you can’t have fields for it. And more often than not, you’ll lose the short-pitched deliveries if they hit off the short pitch as well. There’s not much you can do. You look to bluff the batsman a bit, and I believe that gives liberty to the bowlers to try a few other things if a batsman like Chris Gayle or AB de Villiers gets going. Apart from that, you don’t have a fixed plan as to if you do this, this will happen. That’s where I feel the bowler will have to take that extra initiative and they have to be backed well by the fielders because if you have a 50/50 opportunity and if you grab that, it will really ease up the pressure from the fast bowlers or the spinners. I think as a unit you have to hunt in pack.


Q: Bhuvi [Bhuvneshwar Kumar] bowled today. What was it like today?


MSD: He bowled well. It was good to give him a game. Shami was not 100 percent, so looking at the tournament ahead, obviously we felt it was better off if we can give Shami a bit of rest. I thought Bhuvi started off well. He was slightly up in pace. That’s what it felt like from behind. It’s good to see the whole fast bowling unit available for selection. We’ll see who’s the best on those particular wickets that’s provided. It’s good to see him getting a bit of action.

Q: There are plans in place to perhaps reduce the amount of teams at the next World Cup to 10 and cut away some of the associate nations. What are your thoughts in that regard? Do you think it should be cut back to 10 nations?

MSD: You know, there’s plenty of stuff on my table. We’ll let the ICC decide; they should also do a bit of work, so let them sit in their air-conditioned room and decide whether the associate nation needs to play in the World Cup or not because that’s what they come up with. So the bunch of people will sit in the hall and they’ll decide whether or not it’s good for cricket.

Q: Since the performance has been great, since you have not got so much batting time in the middle, do you see yourself promoting yourself up the order?

MSD: No, we’ll stick to the format.


Q: Great performance by India, but the other team was just crushed, an associate member country trying to come up. What would be your advice to countries like that, even when they lose by such heavy margins as they did today? What would be your advice to them?


MSD: I think if you see, it’s a good exposure for them. They are competing with theTest nations because they have done really well in their associate tournaments where the associate teams are there and they perform against each other. It’s a graph. If you see Afghanistan or some of the other teams, you can see a bit of improvement in their game every time they come and play. You have to see that overall cricket is developing as a sport because you want cricket to be a global sport when it comes to participation, and rather than looking at it from a commercial point of view. Where there is existence of the sport, we have to make sure that it keeps on increasing there, and at the same time you look at some of the other countries where there is the prospect of playing cricket. I feel overall it’s a win-win situation, but what’s most important is to make sure that if there’s a bit of fire anywhere, you have to make sure it becomes a bush fire in terms of the intensity. I think it’s good, whatever we have seen of a lot of associate nations. There has been a lot of improvement in their cricket. But we’ll have to give them more opportunities and we have to make sure that the infrastructure in those countries, they get better and better so more people can come and play cricket.


Q: Could you please tell us what kind of work you have done with your bowlers, especially after the tri-nation Series because there was some kind of concern over your bowling, so going into the World Cup, what kind of things have you worked on?


MSD: I think they have spent a fair amount of time over here. If you see the bowling department as a unit, most of them, they have been part of the Test team and also the tri-series. So when you go expensive in the Test matches and also the ODI series, there’s definitely something that’s lacking. I feel it was an ideal reflection from the bowlers’ side also that they have to make sure they’re bowling the right length because even though the outfields are very big, still, you can get hit for boundaries because of the pace of the wicket. I felt the bowlers also responded really well when they were told these are the areas we have to improve as a team, as a unit. Also what really happened so far in the World Cup games is they have bowled as a unit. All the three fast bowlers have bowled the right length, and I feel it is very crucial, the reason being we have to exploit the fielding, the fifth fielderinside; it becomes a bit difficult to contain the batsmen, especially if they have wickets in hand. As a team we felt we have to find the right length, and according to how the wicket is behaving, you have to change the length in each and every game, and the response from the guys has been brilliant, and there has been more communication amongst the bowlers themselves.



Courtesy: ICC

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