Australia v India, CB Series, Brisbane February 19, 2012

Senior batsmen cost 20 runs in the field - Dhoni


MS Dhoni has said the team will lose out on about 20 runs in the field if all three of Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag are played together. When asked if, taking today's XI as base, the addition of Sehwag at the expense of either Suresh Raina or Rohit Sharma was worth 20 runs, Dhoni answered emphatically in affirmative. He said the impact another slow man on the field will make is intangible to eyes outside, but fairly clear to him.

"People often talk about that one run, but that one run that you save, it changes the strike, and if the next ball the batsman plays a big shot - a six or a four, it can have a big impact," Dhoni said. "If you see, the last few games that we played, we got two or three run-outs and that really had a big impact.

"Also, it's not only these three players [Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir] that we are talking about. We also have quite a few other players who are slow on the field. It will just add on to that, and we will be left with just two or three really good fielders. It's not that these fielders are bad, but for this environment and these conditions and big outfields, they are slightly on the slower side. They will be exploited."

"Once the ball goes to them, the Australians or the Sri Lankans will try to exploit the doubles or three runs. It means it will put more pressure on their body because the throwing needs to be good, and the diving needs to be good so they will under constant pressure. So ultimately it will be a pressure game."

Dhoni is not adamant, but it will only be an extreme case when all three play in a game together. "That may happen," Dhoni said. "It will affect our fielding in a big way, which means there will be more pressure on the batsmen to score those extra 20 runs. But if the middle-order does not perform consistently well, you may have to go with the experienced guys at the top of the order."

Dhoni was asked if the fielding was more important than skill. He replied that it is a misconception to not consider fielding a skill. "In India, there is less emphasis on fielding, that's why you say skill is cricket and fielding is fielding," Dhoni said. "When I was young, fielding was considered slogging around, and batting and bowling was always fun."

Dhoni will miss the next game because of the slow-over-rate ban, but when he comes back he has a challenge with the fitness of the side. Today, too, he said he was forced to bowl out Zaheer Khan early - in the 40th over - because the bowler was cramping up, and Vinay Kumar was cramping up too. It left India with Irfan Pathan and Vinay for the last few overs; Australia took 101 off the last ten.

"[It slipped in] the last 10 overs," Dhoni said. "The bowlers felt the heat. Right from the start of the second Powerplay, [in the] 36th over I saw my best fast bowlers battling through cramps, so that was the reason I bowled Zaheer Khan out in that spell.

"I didn't want to lose any overs from him and then kept Vinay Kumar for the last few, but he also felt the cramps. In the last 10 overs they batted really well and our bowlers were not really able to execute the way they could have if they were not battling cramps or the heat. It was hot out there and you are supposed to go through that phase, but I felt they found it slightly difficult to go through."

If despite resting bowlers and managing their workload, India are going through this problem, they have a real issue at hand. "Everybody was hydrated but at times we have seniors. Over here there is no breeze, it becomes very hot. And it is a big outfield, [batsmen] put pressure on the fielders, they have to put a bit more pressure on their body to not let the batsman score doubles from them."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricbee on February 22, 2012, 20:42 GMT

    It is an irrational logic by Dhoni to talk about batsman's fielding performances. One has to pick a batsman based on their batting proficiency and form not on their fielding talent. Fielding will comes into picture only when 2 batsmen have equal talent in batting. I think Dhoni went overboard here and creating nuisance. Dhoni, please get ur priorities right in picking a player.

  • K.A.K on February 22, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    Hang in there guys! IPL is only a few months away. Home grounds, home crowd, lots of money, local cheerleaders and you will forget everything about this tour of Australia. Cheers.

  • Yolk_Eater on February 22, 2012, 17:41 GMT

    I have noticed that Dhoni promotes himself up the order if the opener's have provided a solid start and the game is in the bag. Then he promotes himself up to finish the game with a six which remains in fans' memories and maybe to boost his average. In the last two matches where India lost quick wickets, I didn't see him promoting himself then. Where was he hiding. And as far as Sachin is concerned, he is still one of the fastest runners between the wickets, if there is a two, he takes a two, no matter a tight one, but he is still more energetic and passionate than the youngsters. And he was the only batsmen who made some runs in Australia. 2 failures in ODI's and suddenly now he is out of form? Rubbish. He looks in good touch. At least better than Dhoni and his pal Ravindra Jadeja.

  • dummy4fb on February 22, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    the video doesn't say that. when did he say what you claim he said?

  • class9ryan on February 22, 2012, 12:34 GMT

    Its abjectly buish 2 speak all this... If u think Rohit Sharma saves 10 runs in d field and scores just 10-20 runs per match why would u prefer him in place of Tendulkar or Gambhir who atleast score 30-40 runs a match. If u even think about fielding, Ashwin, Zak and Umesh r not Usain Bolt why don't u remove them?? u can surely pick up Manoj Tiwary who is even better fielder than Rohit. why isn't he given a go?? I think Dhoni is creating some real nuisance in the team

  • zenboomerang on February 22, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    So MS Dhoni first blamed the batsmen... Then he blamed the bowlers... Now he's blaming the seniors players... Gee MS whose left to blame... lol...

  • stonecold4u on February 22, 2012, 9:10 GMT

    i compltly disagree.....if we will consider on fielding performance thn sachin,dhoni,sehwag,gautham,zaheer,ashwin,umesh etc..should b in team...vr having only 1 gud bowler n dats zaheer...soo jst 2 save 10runs team should replace zaheer or wat....i dont undrstand y every1 r blaming seniors...? d last match rohit sharma dropped couple of catchs....n he is nt performin well in battin....comin 2 jadiga i dont know y indians keepin him in team....jst he is doin fielding well....wat abt othr 2 departments?....i dont know y india not putting rahul sharma...whnevr he got chance he proved....frm 2 matchs pathan is der but b4 dat y he was nt in team???.....ther r soo many can v say raina,jadiga,rohit as new players...vr nt giving chance 2 new rahul sharma....thr will b soo many players 2 discover....jst luk at australia team...they r nt fear on loosing matchs...jst they r discovering new talent....

  • Al_Bundy1 on February 22, 2012, 1:03 GMT

    MSD and Yuvraj are the best thing that happened to Indian ODI team. 10dulkar and Sehwag are free riders. They should be dropped NOW. We started winning ODIs consistently only after MSD and Yuvi arrived on the scene. Before that everyone behaved like SRT - they were only interested in completing their individual 50 or 100. As a result we lost most ODIs against stronger teams.

  • fataquie on February 21, 2012, 17:48 GMT

    I think not everything is right in the Indian camp. I have watched only a few overs and did not see anything unusual in this tour from Sehwag and Tendulkar that was different than the previous roughly 15-20 years of their playing. Even if they cost 20 runs, which I highly doubt, they more than make up for that in their batting. I think the bottom line is that both of these greats have passed their peak and they should not do a Ponting. Frankly, they should have retired gracefully and in awe right after India won the World Ciup.

  • TRAM on February 20, 2012, 19:15 GMT

    Is this MSD talk against Gambhir because of his Gambhir's previous match media talk? Gambhir said on the prev matches, that the match shouldn't gone beyond 48 overs, which I agree as well. I also agree with MSD that the Indian fielders are bad and leaking runs. But are these things to be talked in this manner at the press? Now I tend to believe the Aus press reports that there is rift within the team !

  • No featured comments at the moment.