India v Australia, 3rd ODI, Mohali October 20, 2013

Don't need to spoon-feed bowlers - Dhoni

ESPNcricinfo staff

India captain MS Dhoni, who had hit the third-highest score for a No. 6 batsman to lift his wobbling side to above 300, admitted that death-overs bowling is a headache that is getting worse for the team, especially with the fifth fielder having to come up inside the circle according to the new rules.

Australia required 44 off the last three overs at Mohali, but Ishant Sharma's persistence with either length or short-pitched bowling played into James Faulkner's game plan as he robbed four sixes to reduce the equation to a far simpler 14 off 12 balls.

"I think the last few overs were disappointing, it is an area of concern and it is getting worse. There was a bit of dew but not like in the last game, the individuals will have to step up, you have to back your strength," Dhoni said. "You don't need to spoon-feed bowlers at the international level."

Dhoni sympathised with the challenge the bowlers have to tackle with only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle after the Powerplays, but added that holding one's discipline even at the worst of times could prove the most telling difference in the course of a match.

"This generation of bowlers, though they have some amount of experience, if you consider the rule changes, with fifth fielder inside [the circle], I think most of the bowlers or all the bowlers are very new because experience doesn't really count at the point of time.

"A few bowlers may have off days and that's where you have to make sure you are not giving away too many runs," he said. "Even when you bowl a bad over, try to restrict it in between 15-18 runs, because if you go higher than that, it has a bigger impact on the game."

Dhoni predicted such shifts late in the game could become quite common, especially in the course of this series, with pitches favouring batting, the impact of dew and two good sides on display.

"In the last game, we performed in the same situation and we were able to put pressure on them," he said. "To some extent, we were in a winning position in this game but I think in this series especially, you'll see quite a few times this balance shifting, and from that point the side that bowls slightly better is the one that will win most of the games"

As much as taking wickets restricted the opposition's scoring, the new rules provide the batting side with the opportunity to spark a turnaround, as India themselves proved rising from 154 for 6 in the 32nd over to finish at 303.

"Today we kept losing wickets but still we got 300-odd runs," Dhoni said. "So with that fifth fielder inside its becoming a bit difficult and with right amount of partnerships and if you have wickets in hand, you may see the team scoring on the higher end of the 300-plus scores"

To prepare for such situations, Dhoni said India try to simulate the slog overs by putting fielders in place and checking how far the ball can be hit, even off the outside edge. But net performance does not mirror match situations because there is no "real pressure".

"Nobody really wants to bowl a bad over, but if it happens the individual is more disappointed than anyone else in the stadium or the team," he said. "Ideally, it is best to leave him to this thoughts and then have a chat with him after the team is back at the hotel when he will be less frustrated and more accepting."