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Shikhar Dhawan fortunate to have someone like MS Dhoni around: Michael Holding

The former fast bowler talks about India's performance in the World Cup so far.

Shikhar Dhawan scored 137 against South Africa on Sunday

Former West Indies fast bowler and member of the 1979 World Cup-winning team Michael Holding has said that centurion Shikhar Dhawan, who won the Man of the Match against South Africa on Sunday, is fortunate to enjoy the support of the likes of MS Dhoni and Ravi Shastri. Both Dhoni and Shastri, among others, gave unequivocal backing to Dhawan during the recent Test and triangular series, despite the fact that he was struggling massively for runs.

The support has certainly paid off, with Dhawan scoring 73 and 137 in the opening two games of the World Cup.

"I think a big positive for people like Shikhar Dhawan is that you have quite a few very understanding people around,” Holding said

“The coach Duncan Fletcher; of course Ravi Shastri now who is sort of managing the situation and MS Dhoni. I don't think those guys are the ones who panic. And they know cricketers, they know the abilities of cricketers and they are quite happy to give them a good run.

“So things like that will help people like Shikhar Dhawan and anyone else who comes into the team and isn't an immediate success or has been a success and is going through a bad track.”

He also praised the Indian bowlers’ performance during their 130-run win over the Proteas, saying that the quicks didn't offer any loose deliveries to the Proteas batsmen and used the short ball as a weapon to surprise them.

None of the Indian bowlers went at an economy rate of over 6 runs per over in the match, with Umesh Yadav being the most expensive player on show, going for 34 runs in 6 overs at a rate of 5.66.

"They have been very good. I think they should have pitched them up when South Africa were about 86 runs on their board and about one ball, I think especially to (Hashim) Amla was pitched in line with the stumps. Everything to Amla was outside the off stump.

“They bowled some nice tidy lines to both the left-handers and the right-handers, a couple of short balls yes, because they show that they are a better pace, but they bowled brilliantly,” he added. 

Indian fielding has improved a great deal in the last few years: Holding

He was also appreciative of India’s fielding performance, saying that the standards have improved considerably as compared to those that existed a decade-and-a-half ago.

"To be honest India in the last, I would say six, seven years have been a much better fielding team than they were 15 years ago. And as I say it's not very often that any team is said to be better in the field than South Africa," he said.

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