India v Australia, 6th ODI, Nagpur October 30, 2013

Better off using bowling machines - Dhoni

ESPNcricinfo staff

MS Dhoni backs bowlers to adjust to tough rules

Until a couple of weeks ago, India had never chased down a target over 350. Now, they've done it twice in three completed matches. While India's chase of 351 against Australia in Nagpur on Wednesday featured more success for Shikhar Dhawan, another Virat Kohli special and helped the team draw level in the series with one to play, it left captain MS Dhoni questioning the new ODI rules once again.

"I think [the rules are] something that we need to sit and think about if 350 is the new 280 or 290 or 300," Dhoni said after the match. "With the rule changes and everything, most of the bowlers are getting smashed with the extra fielder inside. Even the best of the bowlers, the fast bowlers, are bowling with third man and fine leg up.

"It was more of a fight as to which side bowls less badly. With the extra fielder inside, if you are slightly off target, it goes for a boundary. A few of the bowlers are disappointed, they actually feel it will be better off to put a bowling machine there. It is a new challenge for the bowlers."

Dhoni was referring to the new rule that came into play from October 30, 2012, which allows only four fielders outside the 30-yard circle in non-Powerplay overs. Dhoni had earlier voiced his doubts over the new rules, which have visibly been limiting his already-thin bowling resources in this series. Before the Champions Trophy in England in June, which India had won, he had said the rules would pose one of the biggest challenges for his side. At the toss in Mohali during this series, Dhoni said something to the tune of "I don't know what they want us to do [with all the new rules]". Then, his team-mate Suresh Raina had spoken out against the rules in Ranchi.

In all, three times in four completed games in this series targets of over 300 have been chased down successfully - and in India's case, with relative ease. Dhoni said such run scoring could hurt the one-day game. "I don't know where it is going. Is it good in the long run that we are seeing - for seven hours - only fours and sixes?"

While there was some smart batting from his team-mates in Nagpur, Dhoni said the dew and the rules meant the chase was "slightly easy". "Shikhar of course got a century, but with Rohit [Sharma] it was one of the days when he wasn't getting the gaps and it would have been easy to get frustrated when you are looking to chase 350. But he absorbed the pressure, and then converted the start and by the time he got out he had a decent strike rate.

"We knew a bit of dew will come later. And now it is slightly easy. You can break it into Twenty20 games. At 30 overs, if we need even 170-odd runs with wickets in hand, and with one more Powerplay and the extra fielder inside [the circle] … 180 is something every team will look to achieve in the last 20 overs."

Dhawan and Rohit set up the chase with their fifth century stand in ODIs this year, before Kohli once again showed how lethal he is in the chase - he scored his 11th century in 69 chases, and India have won all 11 of those matches. He made batting look simple, Dhoni said. "Virat was brilliant. As the ball got old, with the kind of fast bowlers they have and a bit of reverse swing, they were attacking almost all the batsmen. But he counterattacked. He was maintaining a good position when going for the big shots. He made it look easy.

"When I went in to bat, it was difficult for the new batsman. But the way he took the pressure off the new batsman, it was amazing."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 3, 2013, 5:52 GMT

    These Rules are not so problematic train our fast bowlers to bowl stump to stump not any Yorker or the bouncer which the great fast bowler Glen mc rath and shaun Pollock uses to bowl which made them good opening bowler no need for bowling Yorker or short balls which they never use it in most of the matches. A good length ball on off stump or on Middle stump is not easy to take for a right handed and its easy to have a caught behind. For A left handed always go for bowling on the Middle stump or on the Leg stump(if err) else on the Off stump the better line,

  • Luke on November 2, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    India need to start preparing pitches that give the bowlers something, the ball isn't even turning significantly, no matter what the rules are if they are playing on cement everyone's gonna get carted off to the boundary

  • Zaheer on November 2, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    @Nav & Narsimha - Eat humble pies buddies. "Mediocre" Pakistani team has beaten highly rated Proteas in 2nd ODI after scoring just 209 runs and without the help of bowling machines. Dhoni and his fellow one billion need to grow up and look inwards for their failures and don't blame rules that are making Indian so called fast bowlers operating at 125KPH.

  • Harmon on November 2, 2013, 4:42 GMT


    Wow, I had no idea Adelaide had 65 mt boundaries. I do know that NZ has some pretty small grounds but my focus was Indian stadia cos it is only these stdia that are criticized for being tiny when they are not small and are about as large as any other stadium in the world. Anything India do is never digestible to some fans and they will find one or he other reason to dilute those good things. It will be either a poor opposition or a flat track or dew or lucky toss or poor umpiring or something that happened on Pluto that will be responsible for India's wins but Indian team itself will not be praised by these guys.

    That is what I wanted to expose here. Thanks for your inputs.

  • Arun on November 1, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    @ Harmony111: It should also be pointed out that many of the NZ stadiums that cricket is played on are rugby stadiums that are smaller than Nagpur or most, if not all, international stadiums in India. Eden Park, Auckland, is a diamond shaped stadium with short diagonal boundaries. McLean Park, Napier is 50m or so square of the wicket. Adelaide oval has around 65 metres square boundaries. Taunton is another small ground (sri lankans will remember this one from WC 1999). And if the argument is that these grounds have bowler-friendly pitches, it would be wrong. Most ODI games are played on flat tracks regardless of venue. For example, McLean Park boasts of top scores of 373, 347, 340*2, 336,335,324... all scored before the rule change referenced above. With the rule change, you might start seeing 400+ on those grounds.

  • Dummy4 on November 1, 2013, 23:17 GMT

    What rules South Africa vs Pakistan series playing?

  • Muhammad on November 1, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    Instead of bowling machine, one team should use Ishant Sharma and the other one should use Ashok Dinda as the only bowler.

  • Harmon on November 1, 2013, 15:46 GMT

    @Dasith Sean Wijesiriwardena:

    You say you saw 10 sixes in the last IPL that were 56-60 metres. Can you enumerate a few of them or are you just throwing a bluff here?

    When I talked of the sizes of the Nagpur Stadium, I gave exact basis of my assertion. You are free to check the footage online to see if I am right or wrong. Can you back your claims like I did?

    I honestly don't remember the distances of the 6s hit in the last IPL but I do remember the distances of the 6s that were hit in the last CLT20.

    The CLT20 matches were played in the same stadia where IPL matches were played and I clearly remember that a large no of 6s that 'just' cleared the ropes were in the range of 72-75-78 metres. A no of 6s that were 90-95 metres were landing approx 12-15 metres behind the ropes. Sadly, I don't remember the exact moments when this happened.

    But by no means can one say that a stadium whose boundaries are 72-75 metres is a tiny stadium.

  • Steve on November 1, 2013, 13:07 GMT

    That day is not far when 'SIX Run Derby' will be conducted all over the cricketing world, with the top 10 T20 batsmen playing 20 balls/inning from a ball machine where only 6s count. Much like the baseball's home run derby. Bowlers will become increasingly irrelevant. Runs is what people want to see and businesses will find ways to fulfill them.

  • Bhaskar on November 1, 2013, 12:56 GMT

    Dear ICC, did you people wanted to test these weird rules only in an international one day series / tournaments, were there no takers for this weird rules in the club levels or county sides before coming to internationals? The ODI has become a laboratory for ICC, if this is the way it continues then ODI will die a premature death. All the new rules introduced should be scrapped including free-hit to make the battle between ball & bat more even. It is also time to make a pitches committee to make all pitches like in west indies where pace, spin & batting are all helped. I would rate Indian pitches to be the worst, with batting sides making a feast & bowlers lose confidence.

    Virat Kohli is looking as if he is invicible, in actual he is not, he is a steady innings builder (a little faster scorer than Rahul Dravid), he is consistent & a good player. Comparing him with Sachin is rubbish.