India v Sri Lanka, CB Series, Perth February 8, 2012

Dhoni not pleased with middle-order shot selection

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MS Dhoni is not pleased that India's middle order - he is a part of it - let Sri Lanka back in with ill-advised strokes, but he doesn't want to be too harsh on Rohit Sharma, who has scored 0, 21 and 10 in three innings without looking convincing. There were many calls for Virat Kohli to be dropped early in the Test series, and VVS laxman towards the end, to give Rohit a chance. Dhoni, however, doesn't want Rohit to play under the constant pressure of keeping his place in the side, which is why India are rotating the top three batsmen and not the middle order.

"We are looking to give Rohit as many games as possible and we can afford to do that in the first leg of the tournament. Hopefully we can rotate the openers, or you may see the openers again," Dhoni said. "It's not an easy thing to do. You get a chance, and you are always expected to perform in those couple of chances, but it's very important to give a long run to a batsman like him.

"We all talk about the talent he [Rohit] has got. He goes back to domestic cricket, he still scores a lot. He plays IPL, the best of bowlers, and scores runs. So we all know he has got the talent to easily prove himself at top level. We need to back him, and we believe in the kind of talent he has. Hopefully in the next few games he will get going, and that will be a big boost because he is somebody who can field really well both at the boundary and inside the circle. And also if needed he can bowl a bit of offspin."

Dhoni didn't like the shot selection in Perth, though. "I'm happy with the win," Dhoni said. "I agree that there were a few shots that we shouldn't have played but mistakes do happen in the game, but it's good that we ended up on the winning side. We could have lost this game also. Hopefully we won't repeat the mistakes in the coming games. Intensity wasn't over the top in fielding but still up to the mark. Middle overs went well, but batting department can improve a bit."

One of the players yet to get a chance - a proper run - is Irfan Pathan. You would have thought Australian pitches would have been ideal for a seaming allrounder, but Ravindra Jadeja has kept Irfan out. "The last time he played, I wasn't part of the side, I was rested," Dhoni said when asked if he saw Irfan as an allrounder. "I don't' think he got much opportunity to bat. He has come back and we would like to give him a few games. Ideally he is someone who suits the job very well. He can bat and bowl well also. Ideally he is the one, but he needs to do the batting part and bowling part also."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on February 11, 2012, 23:04 GMT

    first drop DHONI, give others a chance.

  • poojapatel21195 on February 11, 2012, 23:03 GMT

    NO NEED SEHWAG IN XI BECAUSE HE DOESNT HAVE DONE ANYTHING GOOD! AND TRY AJINKYA RAHANE AS AN OPENER!

  • poojapatel21195 on February 11, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    DROP RAINA AND TRY TIWARI AND ALSO GIVE A CHANCE TO IRFAN PATHAN BECAUSE THEY BOTH PERFORMED WELL AGAINST WEST INDIES!!

  • poojapatel21195 on February 11, 2012, 22:13 GMT

    DROP RAINA AND PICK MANOJ TIWARI...!!! AND TRY IRFAN..!!

  • zenboomerang on February 11, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    Wondering why Dhoni is blaming the players around him? - 1st game it was the bowlers & now it is the middle order batsmen around him... Not like a captain to put so much blame on his team-mates... Well, at least publicly...

  • zenboomerang on February 11, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    @S.Jagernath... Agree on Daniel Vettori - a true ambassador of cricket... I hope Ashwin goes on to be like him, as they seem to have similar natures & I like what I've seen in Ravichandran Ashwin...

  • zenboomerang on February 11, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    @Nampally :- "It should be an ICC ruling to go back to 1950-1975 formats"... It has nothing to do with the ICC... The team touring gives the host a possible schedule well before a Test series starts & is agreed to - Eng toured Oz & played two 3-day matches & one 4-day match... While Ind wanted just two 2-day games... 10 days FC cricket compared to 4 days - weather permitting... & there is much more difference between Ind pitchs than Eng pitches compared to Oz - so whom was better prepared?...

  • S.Jagernath on February 10, 2012, 22:22 GMT

    Once again Suresh Raina is exempt from all discussions regarding the performances of batsmen.Raina is excess baggage,it seems as though he is in the team just for his fielding.India should not be accepting his lack of consistency,his average of 34 will be easily bettered by a dozen Indian cricketers that are not being selected.Ravichandran Ashwin is starting to offer what Daniel Vettori offers New Zealand,India can do with a player like that batting at 8.

  • harik24 on February 10, 2012, 10:19 GMT

    Dear all, first of all sehwag would be removed from our team...because he is useless in other countries ..he is use in only asia countries....

  • SanjivAwesome on February 10, 2012, 7:04 GMT

    @MrGupta. Based on a Performance Based Culture, Dhoni would be out. And yes, Tendulkar will be in even though I had wrongly posted earlier that he would not. Thank you. And yes as you say Sehwag would be out too. But these are mere illustration of what I feel is a larger malaise - we have a captain providing mediocre leadership to a team of 11 players when he has access to far better talent among a larger pool India has to offer.

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