Dhoni is upset at his bowlers after India's recent run of defeats © Getty Images
MS Dhoni is upset at his bowlers after India’s recent run of defeats © Getty Images


By Taus Rizvi


Jan 30, 2014


Mahendra Singh Dhoni is known to back his players and give them a long rope till they prove themselves. However, back-to-back series defeats seems to have shaken up the Captain Cool.


On Tuesday after India lost the series to New Zealand, Dhoni in a dejected manner asked his bowlers to ‘use their brains’. “We have pacemen with talent. But they have to use their brains also,” he said in the post match presser.


His strange decisions to drop Shikhar Dhawan and open with Virat Kohli, playing all-rounder Stuart Binny but giving him just one over to bowl, in the fourth one-dayer showed he is not confident of the options he has. He also dropped Suresh Raina after the calls for his axing grew.


With only a year left for the World Cup, Dhoni has little time to correct things if he wants to retain the title.


The back-to-back series defeats against South Africa and New Zealand has given India the chance to learn from their mistakes and correct.


Captains usually go to wicket-keeper for advice. DNA, too, chose to go to a ‘keeper for a perspective. And who could be better than one of India’s most successful man behind the stumps Nayan Mongia to know what is going wrong with the Indian team and what could be done.


According to Mongia, India needs to find out match-winning bowlers. “We need to have genuine wicket-taking bowlers. Some one who could take five wickets in a match. I have not seen a bowler take wickets consistently in the Indian team and that is the reason we are not doing well. I think only Mohammed Shami has a four wicket haul.


“When you have 270 or 300 to defend and with the rules favouring batsmen we should have bowlers who can take five wickets even if he concedes 70 runs,” he said.


On the spinners front, Mongia gave the example of Anil Kumble who did not have a great turn but was successful.


“Look at Kumble. He did not have a big turn but was still dangerous. Not only in India but outside too. You have to identify bowlers who could take wickets and quickly,” he said.


The reason behind India’s poor show, he said is also because of its top order batsmen. “That is where we will miss some one like Sachin Tendulkar. When he was there, he would give us a strong platform and Dhoni or Virat would have built on. These openers will have to give a good start so that the middle-order can capitalise on it.


“In New Zealand and Australia you need to have solid technique and shot selection. You have to survive good balls and hit the bad ones,” said Mongia.


The short ball has been a problem for this Indian team which needs to be solved. “In Australia and New Zealand which works in favour of seamers short ball could pose a problem. However, we will have to get rid of it. Either you get used to it or find a replacement quickly with solid technique. I don’t see any one play short ball well apart from Virat or Dhoni.”


Mongia said India has less time in hand to get ready for World Cup. “We should learn from these mistakes and come out with a solution too. We should identify our core group of players and give them a long rope. If we take more than two months to find them then it will be too late,” he said.


(Taus Rizvi is a Principal Correspondent with DNA. A club-level cricketer, he believes cricket helps in knowing a person’s character. Taus can be followed on @rizvitaus on Twitter. The above news has been republished with permission from DNA, where it first appeared)