Focus on getting team combination right after England loss: MS Dhoni
Following the loss to England in their final league match of the Carlton Mid ODI tri-series, at Perth, Indian captain MS Dhoni has said that the team will have to focus on getting the team combination right if they have to start winning matches again.
Put into the bat first, India were all out for 200 despite a strong opening stand from Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan. Following the dismissal of Dhawan for a 65-ball 38, caught behind off the bowling of Chris Woakes, the remaining 9 wickets fell like a pack of cards, for just 118 runs. Moeen Ali sparked the collapse with the wickets of Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina in quick succession.
Rahane top-scored with a 101-ball 73. No other batsman managed to go past the 20-run mark. In reply, England were in for a shock as Mohit Sharma and Stuart Binny ran through the batting order, picking up 2 and 3 wickets respectively, to reduce the opposition to 66/5 in 20 overs.
However, James Taylor (82 off 122) and Jos Buttler (67 off 78) combined for the sixth wicket to score 125 runs off 140 deliveries to help their side sail past the finishing line in 46.5 runs.
‘If we play 4 seamers, either we lose or I get banned’
India’s decision to not play a third frontline seamer on a wicket that assisted pacers more than spinners came in for severe criticism. Dhoni, speaking after the match, said: “That is something that we will have to look at, at the same time it is important to look at the complete balance of the side. We are playing with 2 seamers and 3 spinners; the reason being Ashwin and Jadeja or Ashwin and Axar can bat a bit, but if we look to go in with 4 seamers and 1 spinner, our batting order really suffers.
He added: “At the same time, we can argue that our lower-order isn't doing much. To be good and consistent the lower-order needs to perform, they need to get the number of runs. It's a catch-22 situation, a difficult one for us. But, whenever we have played with 4 seamers there have been, two things very common: one, we lose and two, the captain gets banned because of the over-rate.”
‘Poor selection of shots cost us’
When asked about what went wrong after a solid start, the 33-year-old said: “When we started off, we did decently well with the new ball because there was some assistance for the bowlers. The openers did well to see it off, but a bit more runs initially would have helped us. To some extent, good bowling and poor selection of shots because of which we were under pressure and that was the main reason why we were not able to score 20-25 more runs. That should have been the minimum we were looking for.”
Dhoni believes that the nature of the wicket suited the England seamers better than the Indians. He said: “A few of the deliveries misbehaved, but overall either it was good deliveries or bad shots. I don't think that the wicket played a factor, but at the same time the English bowlers were more suitable for these conditions because of their height and they hit the deck hard. You know when you get more bounce out of the wicket, the difference between a normal delivery and the one that misbehaves is really difficult to encounter.”
England and Australia will now lock horns with each other in the final of the series, at Perth on February 1. India play two warm-up matches, against Australia on February 8 and Afghanistan on February 10, before they begin their World Cup campaign – against Pakistan at Adelaide on February 15.
The break, according to Dhoni, will do the team good. He said: “This is a much-needed break. It is important for the guys to vanish, lock in their kit bags and not think about cricket. I feel it is very important to switch off; it is a long tour for us if you include the World Cup in it. Maybe, the next 5-10 days we can break off and complete a turn-over as a new team with a fresh mindset. The Test series itself drains you a lot and now the tri-series. I feel a lot of the guys batted well in the Test series, just that they need to carry the confidence into the ODIs.”