After a rather winless streak in Australia , Indian skipper has found his winning mantra. Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes in giving his cricketers long rope and even after sealing a quarter-final berth, is averse to changes in playing XI for their next Cricket World Cup match against Zimbabwe unless there is some serious injury to any player. If one goes by Dhoni’s philosophy on chopping and changing, it seems that Ambati Rayudu, Axar Patel, Stuart Binny and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will find it difficult to break into the winning team.
Bhuvneshwar, though played a match in Mohammed Shami’s absence but he certainly is a notch below the trio of Umesh Yadav, Shami and Mohit Sharma. Even Dhoni made it clear that he is not in a mood to rest one of the regulars and try out one from the bench. “Bench strength will warm the bench,” he had put it bluntly after their match against West Indies in Perth.
In Hamilton, after the Ireland game, the Indian skipper explained in detail as to why he is not a big advocate of experimenting with playing XI even in an inconsequential game.
Asked, if there’s a temptation to rest players, Dhoni said: “We need the physio’s input in this matter. If the physio feels any player is in danger of breaking down, we will rest him in that situation. Otherwise, if everyone is fit and available for selection, we’ll field the best XI. Because there are already long breaks between matches — that much rest should be adequate. If there is no risk of injury, we will then continue to field our best eleven.”
While the pitch at Seddon Park in Hamilton was a flat deck, Dhoni expects the Eden Park wicket to have good bounce and carry. “You have to adapt on every wicket. Because how quickly you adapt to conditions is also a factor in success. But I don’t think we’ll get a similar wicket in any of our upcoming matches. We’ve played here previously and noticed that the wicket in Hamilton is different from those in other venues.
“Other venues in New Zealand are similar to Australian pitches. They almost have the same pace and bounce. The outfields are a little smaller here. Other than that there is no great difference. So in the upcoming matches, we’ll get similar conditions. You can say this was a one-off match.” While most of Dhoni’s recent interaction with the media has been about the sea change in the approach and performance of the bowlers, Dhoni in a lighter vein revealed the secret of their success. “Probably they got tired of getting hit,” he smiled.
On a serious note though, Dhoni said, “Probaly it’s a mixture of everything. May be it is about getting hit every day, implementing advices better, new bowling coach, a combination of a lot of things,” he added. Dhoni said that whenever a team tries out new strategies, their longevity depends on success.
“When you do something new, it’s important that the result goes in your favour. Then you become more inclined to follow (that new method). Many times, we see batsmen make changes to their batting in the nets and they are comfortable. But once they are playing a match, if they miss a ball and the pressure increases and they go back to their own basics. Because when you are in pressure situations, you need to do that. That transformation needs time,” the skipper said.
“When bowlers honestly tried something and said ‘Let’s do it’ and it worked in their favour, that’s something that triggered a spark. Hopefully this learning will remain in their mind always,” he said.