India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that Ravindra Jadeja's 45-ball unbeaten 66 in the tied one-dayer against New Zealand will help the left-hander to develop into a more mature batsman. (Match report)
"We are hoping that he (Jadeja) develops further as a batsman. The kind of talent that he has, we have seen him score plenty of runs in domestic the circuit. He just needs to get his thinking right and this innings should really help him do that," Dhoni said at the post-match media interaction here on Saturday. (Highlights)
He also praised Jadeja's controlled left-arm spin bowling on these unresponsive New Zealand tracks, stating, "He has been quite consistent as a bowler for us. Wickets haven't turned here at all, but usually left-arm spinners are able to get turn wherever they bowl". (Pics)
For Dhoni, the positive aspect is the expsoure of such a big run-chases in alien conditions.
"This game is good exposure for the two (Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin) of them. There aren't many times that they have been in a situation like this. So this should help them grow as batsmen, especially Ashwin who has been working hard on his batting and he has a lot more to offer in batting department," he added.
The skipper was happy that the visitors have a chance to now draw level even if they can't win the series.
"The big thing for us was to stay alive in this series. This game could have gone either way at the point where we lost five wickets for 140-odd runs. It seemed we needed to work hard and hard work and application to win from there. Jadeja and Ashwin batted really well to take us where we are now and keep us alive in the series," said Dhoni.
Dhoni also gave a very complex explanation of why he opted to field first in all three games which in a roundabout manner showed his lack of confidence in his bowlers.
"If we ask the batsmen to bat first and give the bowlers a total, in a way then we are taking some pressure off them But the other way is that we might ask the batsmen to give 325-340 runs to bowlers every time they bat, irrespective of wherever they are playing. The short grounds are something we have to keep in mind," said Dhoni.
At one point of time, India looked dead and buried in this series as their top-order again faced familiar collapse with the openers throwing their wickets away once again after getting good starts. Especially Rohit Sharma, who played a loose shot and Virat Kohli, who had a rare failure. Ajinkya Rahane and Suresh Raina were also off-colour today.
"In the middle overs, we haven't got the partnerships that's really needed. With the kind of rule changes, we have in ODIs now, if you have wickets, you have an edge especially from the 35th over onwards. We are losing quite a few wickets in middle overs, which means we have to restart building the innings and we lose 25-30 runs," Dhoni said, elaborating on the problems plaguing the team.
"My responsibility as a batsman is to stay till the end and so far in this series, I have not been able to do that. If I get out close to the 40-43rd over, it puts pressure on batsmen after me," Dhoni said, sharing the blame in the regular batting failures.
The Indian captain felt that tie was a good result.
"There were instances yet again where we could have packed up the game in our favour, because we would have loved to win the game here. But there was some good cricket and bad cricket by both teams and a tie is a fair result," said Dhoni.
"Hopefully, we can do that in the coming two matches in the series. Those two games will be very important for us," he added.
Dhoni was forthright in admitting that the performance of his bowlers was not upto the mark despite Ishant Sharma making the way for Jharkhand quick Varun Aaron.
"I will be very practical about our bowling performance. I don't think, it was a good performance," said the Indian skipper.
"About Aaron, well, he needs to play a few more games and find consistency in his line and length. Also, if he is bowling at 140-145 km/hr, he needs to bowl two bouncers every over, irrespective of where he is playing. This is something we want our bowlers to understand.
"More than pace, the height of the bouncer is very important. So far in this series, we have used bouncers more than often and got some success as well," Dhoni signed off.
The skipper admitted that although they have some big hitters in their ranks, they haven't fired.
"We have got power hitters in our batting, but we haven't fired. We haven't availed the last 10 overs, yet we are very close to opposition targets. Hopefully, in this series we will able to use those overs and get those extra runs in the remaining matches of this series.
"There is a certain brand of cricket we are known to play. That was missing in the last few games. So it was very important to express ourselves and the openers did that, so did the lower-order. Overall, I like the approach we showed in this game," he added.