India in New Zealand 2013-14

'Now we know we've got players who can do well anywhere' - Dhoni

Abhishek Purohit

January 11, 2014

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'Players have performed in all conditions' - Dhoni

  • Dhoni on whether NZ-bound cricketers should have played Ranji quarters
  • What was the schedule of the quarter-finals? We couldn't have banked on the matches finishing a day earlier. When a team is going abroad, it's always better that everyone goes together. You also have to see that we had only a 10-day break between the last tour and now. And it's very important that you get a break when you are playing so much cricket. It keeps you mentally fresh. The physical aspect you can deal with. It was a good decision to give the players some off time so that we prepare well for the New Zealand series. It's good if we can provide that flexibility. There are a number of them in this squad who play for different states and it would have been a case of them playing today when the team's scheduled to leave.
  • On India's recent overseas record
  • I think more often than not we have this [label] only for the subcontinent teams. We don't think about others who have visited different countries and not done well. We lost in the last series in South Africa and before that we didn't perform well in England and Australia, but other than that we have done really well in West Indies, New Zealand or South Africa. I think this is a tagline which has been associated with us and you guys [media] just love to say it.

MS Dhoni believes that India's young side has transitioned into a stable unit with the help of sustained exposure at home ahead of a number of overseas trips.

According to Dhoni, the first one, to South Africa, proved that the team had players who could perform in all conditions. As they depart for the second trip, to New Zealand, the India captain said that tackling bounce and generating it were the major challenges facing the batsmen and bowlers respectively.

"The good thing is that though there have been quite a few changes [to the team], before we went for the last tour we got enough time in India," Dhoni said at a press conference in Mumbai, ahead of the team's departure for New Zealand. "Quite a few of them played few Test matches in India and we did well and were confident of their ability. Quite a few people were speculating about how the batsmen will do or how the bowlers will do [in South Africa]. Now we know we have got a set of players who will do well irrespective of where we are playing and that is a big positive.

"As of now, both our [ODI and Test] squads look quite settled, which is a good thing because it's very important to back individuals. If you talk about the batsmen, not all of them have played a lot of Test matches outside the subcontinent. So they will take some time.

"But what we have seen is that almost all of them have played ODIs outside India and still they have performed really well, which gives you the confidence of saying that they have the ability to do well outside the subcontinent when it comes to dealing with pace and bounce. Yes, the red ball does slightly more and for slightly longer periods in Test matches and it's different, but if you have the talent to perform in one format, definitely you have the talent to perform in others too."

For India batsmen who are used to unpredictable and low carry at home, leaving balls on the bounce alone in New Zealand is likely to be a challenge. But Dhoni said that his batsmen had shown in South Africa that they could tackle that test quite well.

"We have a slightly bigger challenge in the sense that ... [even] if the fast bowlers bowl back of a length in India more often than not it is very difficult to leave on the bounce, but when you go outside you know you have the liberty of not only leaving on the line, but also if you judge the bounce and if the wicket has good bounce, you can leave on the bounce.

"This is something you learn over a period of time and I think the batsmen did well in South Africa, they handled good fast bowling and at the same time they were quite positive. There were quite a few things that happened in South Africa that gives us the confidence of saying that we have the talent of doing well anywhere in the world."

Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli added 222 for the third wicket, South Africa v India, 1st Test, Johannesburg, 4th day, December 21, 2013
MS Dhoni: I think the batsmen did well in South Africa. They handled good fast bowling and at the same time they were quite positive © Getty Images

Dhoni also said there was healthy competition among his bowlers, with more and more recovering from injuries, and that the challenge for his attack was to squeeze more bite out of drier pitches.

"I think there's more competition when it comes to the bowling department. One year back some of our leading fast bowlers had injuries. Back then we didn't have too many options," he said. "But now with all of them becoming fit and being available for selection and doing well on the domestic circuit, they have enough competition amongst themselves, which is a healthy thing to have."

"There's one particular condition we have to improve on, which is on wickets that are on the drier side and just have a bit of bounce on offer and not too much of seam movement. The reason being, most of our bowlers aren't those who hit the surface. Most of them are those who swing the ball and bowl slightly up to the batsman. At times we encounter wickets that are on the drier side and you have to bang in the ball to get bounce and pace."

In the absence of a seam-bowling allrounder, Dhoni also called for India's specialist spinners to show more patience and build pressure in overseas Tests, pointing to Ravindra Jadeja's performance in the Durban Test as an example.

"One thing that the home team would like to do is to ensure that the wickets don't turn at all. The reason being that we don't have an allrounder. We don't play with five specialist bowlers. Over the years we have lost our part-timers who were as good as specialist bowlers.

"If the ball doesn't spin they [the opposition] can take runs off the spinner, rotate the strike and look to score over three runs an over, and that actually puts the pressure on the captain. You don't want them to score over three-and-a-half runs an over when the spinner is bowling. [Then] you're forced to bring back the fast bowlers and they end up exhausted after the first day workout.

"In that respect, Jaddu's performance was good. Also the spinners will have to accept that when they travel abroad and when they're bowling on the first-day wicket, their role is slightly different. They need to have a bit more patience and not give them runs so that you are also building pressure from one end. They get late turn from the third or fourth days and that's the time they need to go in for the kill.

"When they play more and more games outside India, they'll start accepting the fact that in their first 9-10 over spells in India they might get one-two or more wickets, [but] outside they need to be more patient in their first spell, especially if they are bowling on the first day of the Test match. It's a bit tough on them but till the time we find a seaming allrounder, they'll have to bear that."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by   on (January 24, 2014, 2:34 GMT)

we have got players who fail repeatedly and still we don't learn and encourage them by giving chances. Players like ishant, rohit, raina, jadeja and dhawan must be asked to play domestic cricket to discover their lost form.. Ishant, rogit and raina must clearly not be selected until they proves themselves honestly.

Posted by   on (January 17, 2014, 17:16 GMT)

india no1 ranked team still call them home lion lamb abroad what was it in champions trophy straight win 5 matches the opener match in cardiff dhawan made century then going to westindies winning it give us a break guys wining straight 6 series even mighty aussie didnt do it last year and dont forget they chased above 300 3 times

form is temporary class is permanent . LOVE YOU TEAM INDIA

Posted by Greatest_Game on (January 17, 2014, 0:35 GMT)

Much talk here about Kallis' last century.. He took 393 minutes to score 113, not a particularly long knock. For some perspective, the record is by Mudassar Nazar - his took 557 minutes.

Perhaps the most notable, for a host of reasons, was by Sanjay Mandjekar. On 20 & 21 October, 1992 he took 529 minutes to score 104 in Zimbabwe's FIRST EVER test. Zimbabwe fielded John Traicos, who was born in Egypt, & grew up in SA, making his debut against Aus on Feb 5, 1970, playing just 3 tests before SA's sporting isolation.

22 years and 222 days after his last test, the 45 year old Traicos played in Zimbabwe's first, dismissing such notables as Kapil Dev, Mohammed Azharuddin, & a youngster named Sachin, who was born AFTER Traicos' debut. The 45 year old bested the 20 year old, dismissing him for 0 in 3 balls, while taking 5 for 86 @ econ 1.76. That Econ is no surprise: Sanjay scored 34% of India's runs at SR 24.64. It was his 4th, & LAST century.

Kallis' last was pretty nifty in comparison!

Posted by rajcl on (January 16, 2014, 9:21 GMT)

@ Shri Vathsan ,,,,,

Jacques Kallis! This man could have easily beaten Tendulkar's record of test centuries by prolonging his test carrier. Instead he chose to stay with odi's so that SA can win a world cup! ,,,,,,,,,,,( take out the word of easily in your sentence,, kallis is great cricketer no dought but sachin record is a not easy Sachins 45th centurie came in 161st test & kallis 45 centurie came in 166 test 5test aditional than sachins how can you say easily , both came as a bowling all rounder at that time & sachin stick with batsman job & avoding injuries so he did not bowled lot, so less wkts ,if he bowled like kallis in test he could have taken atleast 200 to 250 wkts,--- so dont compare kallis bowling figurs to sachins he did not bowl much thats it ,,,& we INDIANS rating sachin because he played with lot pressure on his own sholder than any one in world ,where kallis played with less pressure than sachin,& sachin is like 1 vs 11 for some years ( not some matches )

Posted by NaveensTime on (January 16, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

The tour of SA is great learning experience for Indian Team, as several youngsters rose to the challenge and proved their mettle. The likes of Virat , Pujara and Shami have showed the character to succeed in alien conditions. There are still few players who tried but could not succeed should be given few more opportunities.

Posted by   on (January 16, 2014, 8:40 GMT)

Of course India play well at home. They play on roads and have good batters. When Indians denounce pace and bounce as being unnatural in terms of pitch conditions, they show what Indian fans have always demonstrated ignorantly... that they care about themselves and Indian cricket, not cricket itself. They think their 'normal' is cricket normal - it is not. NZ will offer proper cricket pitches. Try it sometime India and you will not win everything at home and then make excuses abroad because you find normal to be the opposite of what you are used to. Problem is, then you will win more abroad, but lose some at home that gets you in trouble with your manic fans. So, you have made your bed... time to sleep in it. BMac, Ryder and co. will tuck you in. Sweet dreams.

Posted by   on (January 16, 2014, 7:23 GMT)

Harmony111..." It shows that either someone was selfish or poorly skilled". My goodness! What are you talking? You come to say a player of Kallis calibre is poorly skilled? Then what exactly is skill? Jeez! 200 catches,292 wickets,13000 runs doesnt come without skill.

Selfish huh? Jacques Kallis! This man could have easily beaten Tendulkar's record of test centuries by prolonging his test carrier. Instead he chose to stay with odi's so that SA can win a world cup!

Just because he has scored at lesser strike rate against a mediocre bowler(by your own admission),it does not mean he is less skillful or selfish.

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