Dhoni is still contemplating whether Jadeja is good enough to be India’s long-term all-rounder
While Ravindra Jadeja has made a case for himself being India’s newest all-rounder, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is still not convinced that he has truly got a genuine all-rounder who can help the national team in all aspects over a long period of time.
Dhoni admitted that the new International Cricket Council (ICC) ODI rules, which state that five fielders must be within the 30-yard circle during all non-designated powerplay overs posed a serious problem for India, especially since they heavily rely upon part-timers to provide wickets during the middle overs.
“We are used to play with part-timers,” Dhoni said. “Now it’s difficult for part-timers to bowl with five players inside the circle. If there’s dew, then you don’t get turns as well. It becomes more difficult.
“With the new rules, you’ve to assess whether six batsmen are enough or seven. It’s very difficult to play with the part-timers and expect them to bowl 10 overs, what we’re looking at is somebody who can fill in the gap – a genuine all-rounder to bring in the balance in the side. Lower order contribution is also very important especially when you’re chasing.”
Dhoni noted that the new rules give batsmen more of an advantage when chancing their arms and when they look to work the ball into the gaps, which he believes is an easy task for any set batsman.
“Once five fielders are inside, there’s tendency to look for big shots which will often fetch wickets,” Dhoni added. “So it’s important to treat the deliveries as it comes on their merit without looking for a very big score.
“Earlier it was important to get as many runs possible in the three Power Plays. But with the new rules, you’ve five players inside throughout, which means if you’re set then there are very good chances to get good runs. It’s about being in good form and playing as many overs as possible.
“In the last game, we saw if you’ve wickets in hand and if your main batsmen are still there, then you can get a lot of runs. You’ll have to keep wickets in hand and treat every ball as it comes without thinking too much ahead.”
In regards to India’s disappointing performances over the past 18 months, Dhoni explained that the national team were going through a transitional phase after winning the ICC World Cup in 2011.
“We’re going through a transition period whether it’s Test or ODIs,” Dhoni said. “Even in ODIs, most of our main bowlers are injured which means we are lacking a bit of experience. They are fresh bowlers, the more they play, the better they get. I am not really worried too much about it. They just need proper exposure.”
While India’s bowlers seem to have made a huge improvement in the past number of series, many of their senior batsmen in the side are still stuck in a rut.
However, Dhoni defended the team’s batsmen, stating that they were doing extremely well in the limited overs format.
“We have batted well in shorter versions,” Dhoni said. “It was one off game in the last ODI. It would be wrong to judge our batsmen on that basis. We have seen if the top batsmen have failed others have taken up the responsibility well and the bowlers have defended as well.
“Of course batting has been a bit of a problem. That’s one area where we should have been really good. But it happens in cricket. It’s the right time for all the batsmen to come back among runs.”
Dhoni also brushed aside all the criticism targeted towards him and mentioned that he would rather focus on improving his game and use it to silence his critics.
“It’s their views,” Dhoni added. “You’ve to respect their views. My job is to play cricket and help the youngsters. Everybody knows what’s the problem. We are more worried about how to do well as a team.”
The Indian captain also praised the early starts to ODI matches and pointed out that the dew factor would not be such a big issue to any of the teams now.
“It’s good to start early,” Dhoni said. “Because of the dew factor, we have seen 70-75 per cent times, the team batting second wins, unless you got off to a really bad start. Now, the toss would not become vital and the wicket will remains quite the same in both the innings.
“But at the end of the day, you’ve to play good cricket to win the game. You can’t rely too much on toss.”