MS Dhoni concedes India's batting and bowling woes but heaps praise on fielding

Asked about grooming Bhuvneshwar for serving the country long, Dhoni said, "We need to groom the whole lot, it's not only about Bhuvneshwar. He is someone who can swing the ball both ways. He is not exceptionally quick but he bowls at a decent pace. He is quite street-smart, he knows where to bowl and what needs to be done.

Updated: January 15, 2013 23:23 IST
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Kochi: India on Tuesday finally found its winning touch with a thumping win over England in the second ODI, but captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni conceded that his side did not possess the firepower of the past when they had whitewashed the visitors in the last two series at home.

India had defeated England 5-0 both in 2008 and 2011 ODI series at home but Dhoni said his side would not be that dominant now as they lacked firepower in bowling and the top batsmen were struggling.

"It has happened in the past, but it does not mean it will happen in this series also. We have our own things to worry about. Yes, last time we played well as a batting unit, our bowlers were more experienced, who knew what to do in the powerplays and death overs, how to use the new balls," he said at the post-match press conference.

"We're going through a stage when we don't have the same firepower when it comes to the bowling department. Our batting department is not able to convert those starts into a big innings. But we're fielding really well, and that's a big positive for us," he said.

Dhoni said his side will have to solve the problem of batsmen failing to convert starts into big totals if they have win matches consistently.

"This is a bit of a problem. If three or four batsmen make 50, then it's important at least one or two of them go on to make at least 75. So that the new batsmen coming after them, when say two quick wickets fall, then they won't feel that much pressure.

"I think it's very important. If you look at the good side, our batsmen are getting starts. Yes, I would like them to convert their starts to a big innings so that it won't put pressure on the rest," said Dhoni whose 66-ball 72 played a major role in India's 127-run victory.

Dhoni praised Ravindra Jadeja for his all-round show, scoring a blistering 37-ball 61 not out and two wickets for 12 while bowling.

"It was very important, not only for him but for the team also. Till now if you see, he's done well as a bowler. He has scored runs, these fifties and forties, but it's important for him to get these runs going because it eases the pressure on the lower order.

"And we have seen, he's someone who can hit big sixes. This innings will really help him because, it will help him read the game, where he can hit the bowlers and what the bowlers are looking to do. We're all really happy with the amount of runs he's got for the side," said Dhoni.

Dhoni was also pleased with the performance rookie bowlers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed.

"With all these rules everybody will get hit at some point of time. But if somebody is bowling well and you need to get wickets, it's not a bad option to make him bowl 10 overs. He was swinging the ball nicely, so I said 'they are losing wickets and let's make sure he bowls his 10 overs'.

"And use some of bowlers in the death because they have been doing the same thing quite often and the results have been the same. So we have to look at alternatives," the Indian captain said.

Asked about grooming Bhuvneshwar for serving the country long, Dhoni said, "We need to groom the whole lot, it's not only about Bhuvneshwar. He is someone who can swing the ball both ways. He is not exceptionally quick but he bowls at a decent pace. He is quite street-smart, he knows where to bowl and what needs to be done.

"With a bit more exposure he can start executing the yorkers well and mix them up with the slower ones. Not to forget Shami. He is someone who bowls at a good pace. So we need to keep going with these guys, back them and give them a bit cushioning so that they become a very good bowlers for us. Considering that our top six-seven bowlers are injured at the moment, these guys are doing a good job."

On the small incident involving him and Jade Dernbach, Dhoni said, "Basically, I thought he was coming into my way. As a batsman, you don't really many chances, you have to go around the bowler and at times you can get run out. It was between two gentleman, maybe not in the perfect way, but nobody abused, that was the good part, and we got the message across. Both of us are happy."

On the helicopter shot with which he used to get lots of runs, Dhoni said, "It fetches me a lot of runs. It's not an easy shot to play with a heavy bat. But you can go underneath the ball and still get a bit elevation and look to go over the infield, if you're not looking for a big six.

"It's something I used to play when I played with tennis ball. That's something everybody plays in India and everyone thinks he is Sachin Tendulkar. That has really helped me, especially to have good command in the last 10 overs when the bowlers are looking for Yorkers, or even the short pitched delivery, which you can flick."

Dhoni re-iterated his views on the new rules of ODI introduced recently, saying they were unfair for spinners.

"It's a bit unfair for the spinners to bowl with that one extra fielder inside. And to bowl in last 10 overs and if the opposition has wickets in hand, it becomes a bit difficult to contain the batsmen.

"We have seen teams scoring 300 runs and they were chased successfully by the opposition. So when the ODIs were already so interesting, I don't know with these new rules if they want to make it a bigger T20 game. It's a bit unfair on bowlers but over the years we have seen bowlers adjusting to it," he said.

Asked about holding the nerves in international cricket, he said, "Whoever holds his nerve better will come out winner. It's not an easy thing to do. Just try and remain one step ahead of what the opposition wants to do or what their plan of action is. That really helps.

"Everybody is nervous. If somebody says he is not nervous while playing international cricket or any other sport, he is lying. Because nerves are something that helps you perform better. A bit of nerves is important otherwise you can become really arrogant. It pushes you to respect opposition and it helps you to see what your own limitations are."

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