Axar Patel can be as effective as Ravindra Jadeja: MS Dhoni
India’s limited-overs cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said that his bowlers need to develop more consistency and urged them to take a leaf out of the way they themselves bowled in the latter part of the Australian innings. At 196 for 2 in 35 overs, the Australians seemed to be cruising their way to a comfortable win, but the Indian bowlers pulled the game back by picking up quick wickets and at least ensured that the hosts didn't get to the target eventually without a stutter or two.
"I think we gave a bit of width to the Australian batsmen. We did bowl good deliveries, but in between there were quite a few loose deliveries that were bowled. Whenever you bowl short and wide, how you come back is you bowl really up, and then you come back to length. I think we were slightly shorter to start off with. We didn't have a par-plus total,” Dhoni said.
"It's important for the bowlers to keep in mind is what length they were looking to bowl, what were the areas they were looking to bowl because that's something that will be very crucial in the coming months. I think we bowled very well in the last 10-12 overs. That's something we will have to do more often than not on these wickets,” he added.
Might look to groom Axar as our death bowler: Dhoni
The 33-year-old also praised the performance of left-arm spinner Axar Patel, saying that if the 20-year-old is given the right guidance, he can certainly perform the role played by Ravindra Jadeja to good effect.
“Axar, we all know, can bat too. Tomorrow he can be as good as Jadeja. With them, you can also have the option of playing two left-arm spinners if needed, depending on the opposition,” he said.
"Since the rule changes have been made, usually I like to keep a minimum of one or two overs for the spinners because if the fast bowlers are going for runs, with the spinner I can push the batsmen to hit one side of the wicket. With big boundaries, I can really exploit that to some extent. It's always good to have those overs up your sleeve.
"We will have to see if Axar can be our death bowler. But if we can groom him, why not?" the wicketkeeper-batsman added.
Rohit knows how to build an innings: Dhoni
Dhoni was also full of praise for Rohit Sharma, saying that the 27-year-old has the ability to play the long innings and also maintain a good strike-rate during his stay at the crease. The opener notched up his sixth ODI ton to help India post 267 for 8 in 50 overs.
"If I see the performance in ODIs in the last one and a half years, almost all the batsmen have scored runs. But it is good to see Rohit score consistently. He is someone who knows how to play big innings and he knows how to build on the good starts,” Dhoni said.
"Initially, Rohit leaves the good deliveries out and then once he is set, more often than not, he scores big and we can rotate around him. He also scores at a very good pace, so overall it becomes slightly easy to build the innings.
"The situation Suresh Raina went in to bat today, it was very crucial to get a partnership going. And he had to curb his instinct to some extent and play defensively initially and then he went on to play his shots. I think both of them played really well today.”
He further added that the lower-order needs to work on their batting to ensure that the team doesn't capitulate once the regular batsmen return to the pavilion.
"Once I go in to bat at No. 6, it seems you have to hit and you can't get out. It's a very difficult thing to balance," Dhoni said.
“We have groomed Jadeja to do the job and I feel with him coming back, it will become slightly easy for us because we all know that he can also hit. Ashwin we all know he can definitely bat. He is a good batsman, but he is not someone who will clear big grounds."