New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Auckland

Dhoni asks for endurance and intensity from bowlers

Abhishek Purohit in Auckland

February 5, 2014

Comments: 71 | Text size: A | A
Dravid: Bowling attack has let Dhoni down overseas

Zaheer Khan celebrates his 300th Test wicket, South Africa v India, 1st Test, Johannesburg, 5th day, December 22, 2013
'It is not only motivation [from Zaheer]. It is about bringing up new plans, and helping the youngsters to execute those plans' - MS Dhoni on Zaheer Khan © AFP

India's fast bowlers will have to be prepared to bowl long spells in New Zealand, and run in with the same intensity they showed in South Africa, captain MS Dhoni has said. Zaheer Khan, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma bowled a collective 91 overs in the second innings of the Wanderers Test. A week later, they sent down a combined 86 more in the first innings of the Durban Test. Dhoni said their energy levels did not dip even in their fourth spells, and said more of it will be needed in New Zealand with little help for spinners.

"The good thing was, their approach was really fantastic [in South Africa]," Dhoni said. "What we have done as a team is, I like to give them short spells so that they are fresh thinking about the third or the fourth spell, if needed. Use them in short bursts. But if the situation demands, they will have to go for long spells. With [Ravindra] Jadeja, he can hold one side, he can bowl long spells, of course, that depends on how well he is bowling.

"In South Africa, I felt they did a very good job. Even when we bowled too many overs, when they came for the last spell, they were still putting in a lot of effort. That is what is important. You don't want to give away easy runs. Let the opposition score off good shots. It was a good performance from them, depending on the scenario."

Dhoni said Indian fast bowlers were used to going flat out for wickets thanks to the fewer overs they bowl at home, where spinners are used more. In New Zealand, they will need to be patient, which is where the experience of Zaheer will come in handy, the captain felt. "It is not only motivation [from Zaheer]. It is about bringing up new plans, and helping the youngsters to execute those plans. In the subcontinent, at times the only thing fast bowlers look for is wickets. They want to get wickets in each and every spell. Sometimes they only have two or three spells in the whole day.

"But over here the scenario changes. They have to bowl more overs, they have to keep coming back for second spell, third spell. Sometimes if you are bowling well, maybe even a fourth spell on the same day, which means you have to be a bit more patient. Bowl one line and length. Try to build on the pressure. It will be a real help to the fast bowlers as he [Zaheer] is someone who has played a lot outside the subcontinent. It is always good to have an experienced bowler in the side."

Also of help to the fast bowlers will be the restrictive presence of Jadeja, Dhoni said. Jadeja was the preferred sole spinner for India in the previous Test in Durban, where he bowled 58.2 overs in the first innings, picked up six wickets and conceded only 2.36 an over. "In the Test format, what we have seen is he is definitely someone who can keep it tight," Dhoni said. "He gives the liberty to our fast bowlers to attack a bit more. Jadeja can keep one end closed, and not give too many runs so that we can build some pressure and the fast bowlers can attack from the other side."

Ishant was the third seamer alongside Zaheer and Shami in South Africa. Ishant averages less than three wickets a Test, but Dhoni said as the third fast bowler his role was to not let the opposition get away when the ball stopped moving around. "More often than not we have used him as a one-change bowler," Dhoni said. "That again becomes a very crucial slot. At times with the Kookaburra ball, you don't get a lot of swing after 25-30 overs. It is important you keep hitting the same length, and try to get the batsmen out with his extra bounce. It will be crucial for him to keep it tight, keep bowling in the same areas, keep repeating the action, keep hitting the length we want him to, and build on pressure.

"The one-change bowler is crucial as once we give away too many runs, it becomes a situation that when the new ball is due, you cannot afford to have too many fielders in the catching cordon as you have already given away too many runs. A lot in the modern day is dictated by what pace the opposition or home team is scoring at. If you are scoring at over four or close to four an over, it means in 90 overs you have already reached a par-plus score. Then it becomes difficult for the opposition whether to go for an attacking field or go defensive. Let's see how it goes."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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Posted by sibaq on (February 6, 2014, 13:48 GMT)

ndia is lacking the experience of Dravid, Laxman, Sachin, Gambhir, and Sehwag. First 3 were retired from the Intl. cricket and sehwag is out of form, but why the selectors are not showing their favor towards Gambhir, in previous tour (2008-2009) to New Zeland he was one of the players who made centuries but now he is not even in the squad. This is one of the examples for Dhoni's partiality & poor captaincy he want to keep some players in the team even they don't' perform like "M Vijay, Raina, R Sharma, Ishant Sharma and RA Jadeja." The team which is playing is not an Indian team it is Dhoni's team.

Posted by   on (February 6, 2014, 4:38 GMT)

Its true Indian don't not have world class bowlers who can take 20 wickets. But it doesn't make sense to keep playing the same bowlers again and again. Ishant was an exception prospect when he started his career but honestly his bowling has gone down and he needs to work it out in domestic cricket and nets. There is no point playing him again and again. If we are playing 4 bowlers instead of 5 because of batting issues overseas someone like mishra or ojha who are regular spinners could be tried. We have reached a point in Indian cricket unless a fresh approach is taken Indian cricket will go downhill. I expect 0-2 test white wash in NZ.

Posted by Night.angel on (February 6, 2014, 3:05 GMT)

India deserve to lose with this bowling line-up and an arrogant captain in Dhoni, who refuses to change the under-performers and his attitude.

Posted by Night.angel on (February 6, 2014, 2:54 GMT)

Zaheer and Ishant bowling @125. Freebies are plenty. Feast on NZ. At least it brings a change in the helm (Dhoni) and his friends

Posted by Night.angel on (February 6, 2014, 2:49 GMT)

Indian bowlers are back to its best. Yadav was the one of promising lads emerged from Aus along with kohli, but now he warms the bench.

Ishwar Pandey was an exact replacement for Ishant. Because of his height, he can extract bounce. But Ishwar is a more compact player with good control over his line and length.

Ishwar avgs 24 in FC with an economy rate of 2.88 per over and strike rate of 50. Our Ishant avgs 32 in FC with an economy rate of 3.50 per over and strike rate of 60.

Why can't we can the bowling personal? It may change our fortune also!!!

Posted by Johnny_129 on (February 6, 2014, 2:04 GMT)

Where is the intensity??? Ishant & Zaheer are bowling in the high 120's - That is suitable for WOMEN'S CRICKET!! Embarrassing pace! They are even encouraging Shami to bowl at a slower pace. Indian bowling needs to work as a team - hunt in packs. India should play Shami, Yadav & Aaron together in at least 10 matches overseas. Also drop Rohit and play Ashwin & Jadeja together. I have always said India requires 5 bowlers to bowl teams out twice - right now they have 3 and a half since Zaheers stamina is limited because of age. India's performance is very very disappointing to fans. They show a glimmer of hope only to deceive. :'(

Posted by thillumullu on (February 5, 2014, 23:41 GMT)

Same story Drop Ashwin. Give him some chance, U guys talk like he is the only player who is bad and the rest r goo. Even Shami and Kumar should be dropped for thir poor performance in one dayers. If fast bowlers d not create presure at the start it is not easy for the spinners to do their job. Also Indian batsman make the opposition bowlers good because they put themselves into a shell and not scoring runs freely.

Posted by CurrentPresident on (February 5, 2014, 21:54 GMT)

It just shows how clueless Dhoni is about bowling in test matches. For him, bowling is just a way to contain runs. So he picks 4 bowlers, out of which the role of two is to 'keep things tight' and not give away runs.

How can two bowlers take 20 wickets, no matter how much intensity they have?

This defensive mindset does not even work in ODIs now, it is a sure disaster in test matches. these are not Indian tracks where two spinners can run through a side. Every one of your bowlers has to be looking to take wickets. Every one of your bowlers has to exert pressure on the batsmen.

What's wrong with trying an attack consisting of Zaheer, Shami, Yadav/Aaron with one spinner? Or for that matter Harbhajan, Ojha and Misra with one pacer?

Posted by Noboundary on (February 5, 2014, 21:32 GMT)

Speaking of endurance we have to remember the great Kapil Dev, he used to bowl very long spells often 25-30 overs at a stretch. I remember a commentator saying. in comes Kapil Dev, our best bowler, often the only bowler..... I don't see any of our present fast bowlers doing such spells!

Posted by   on (February 5, 2014, 20:52 GMT)

now one wonders what dhoni meant by "bowlers to bowl with intensity".without a doubt ,overseas he is dreadfully defensive.. if we turn the clock back in 2011-12 we went to australia with real pace of yadav and sharma(given he was really quick on that tour) bouncer to clarke.he pulled thing u know they all throw that plan out of d window and start searching for his outside edge...i mean surely u gotta b more aggresive than that..

Posted by Temuzin on (February 5, 2014, 20:15 GMT)

@Night.angel: then the next one you pick will go for 77 average. Who then you will pick? BCCI seriously needs to continue picking 100 bowlers at the age of 12-14 every year and nurture them, seriously train them and take care of them monetarily and then may be in 6-7 years time, we will have 4-5 excellent bowlers. BCCI should start doing it now.

Posted by Savvy-Cricket-Analyst on (February 5, 2014, 19:53 GMT)

There are a few cricketers who have been knocking loudly on the doors of Indian Selectors, but the Selectors seem to be hearing-impaired. (2) Kedar Jadhav - Highest run scorer in 2014 Ranji, with 1223 runs in 11 matches with avg of 87.35 and strike rate of 80.30 (159 boundaries and 15 sixes) with 6 centuries and 2 fifties --- In his career, in 51 first class matches, he has scored 3625 runs at an avg of 51.05 with 10 centuries and 13 fifties at a strike rate of 67.

He is one hard-hitting reliable batsman that India is badly looking for at 4th position after Kohli. He needs to be given an opportunity and needs to be persisted with to allow him to learn in international conditions. It will be like investing in future, as Kedar Jadhav is already 29. Just trying him for one or two matches and discarding him will be an injustice.

Posted by Savvy-Cricket-Analyst on (February 5, 2014, 19:38 GMT)

There are a few cricketers who have been knocking loudly on the doors of Indian Selectors, but the Selectors seem to be hearing-impaired. (1) Rishi Dhawan - Highest wicket takers in 2014 Ranji, with 49 wickets in 8 matches with econ of 2.89 and avg of 20.3 --- Even in batting he did well in Ranji matches. He was 4th highest run-scorer from Himachal team with 435 runs with avg of 39.54 which included 5 fifties and a good strike-rate of 79.52-- In his career, in 33 first class matches, he has scored 1539 runs at an avg of 40.50 with 3 centuries and 10 fifties. In these 33 first-class matches, he has also taken 145 wickets at an avg of 23.84 and econ of 2.88

He is one fast-bowling all-rounder that India is badly looking for. He needs to be given an opportunity and needs to be persisted with to allow him to learn in international conditions. It will be like investing in future, as Rishi Dhawan is only 24. Just trying him for one or two matches and discarding him will be an injustice.

Posted by Savvy-Cricket-Analyst on (February 5, 2014, 19:21 GMT)

If selectors refuse to learn from their past mistakes in selecting players for overseas tours (and keep selecting flat-track bullies like Rohit, Shikhar & Raina for batting, and keep selecting clueless bowlers in overseas conditions like Ashwin, Jadeja and Ishant), then India will continue to face more humiliating defeats. The Selectors must understand that they should have two different sets of players for playing in India and for playing abroad. Moreover, there should be separate teams for Tests, ODI & T20. You can have Jadeja for ODI only, but in Tests he will be ineffective. In T20s, he will be very expensive bowler. Moreover, he is good for Indian ODIs only, not abroad. Similarly, the Selectors should analyse strengths & weaknesses of each player for their suitability in India and abroad, as well as each for Tests, ODIs and T20s. The current flawed strategy is to use same player for India and abroad, and same player for Tests, ODIs & T20s. Then India will continue to loose.

Posted by Temuzin on (February 5, 2014, 18:59 GMT)

Is it too hard for these critics to understand, that India does not have two good bowlers who can take 20 wickets on foreign pitches. All bowlers available in India are no better than the other. Check the list that includes, Vinay kumar, RP Singh, Irfan Pathan, Praveen Kumar, Ashish nehra, Bala ji, Sangwan, Ishant, Bhuvi Shami, Ishwar Pande, Binni, Chawla, Ojha, Mishra, Ashwin, Jadeja. All are same. Hit in one match and miss in many many matches. Iit really does not matter who you select. They will be thrashed all over the park. India does not have a steyn or a johnson. Heck they dont even have an Ajamal.So blaming Dhoni will not work. Just pray that who so ever is selected will be able to throw a few good balls (by chance and not by skill) that can get wickets.

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 5, 2014, 18:33 GMT)

@Sultan2007: That's a real good observation about Ishant Sharma's release. I was watching the recent ODI series against NZ when NZ TV (SKY) showed a split screen of Bhuvi and Ishant's release.

As soon as the ball left Ishant's hand, it was spinning cross seam in the air, the seam's position at the point of impact with the pitch was undetermined and reliant on chance for any lateral movement.

It was the opposite with Bhuvi. Pity then that he doesn't have the pace or stamina to be effective all day. In ODIs, it's noticeable that Bhuvi bowls well in his 1st spell and then disappears for plenty when he returns late in the innings. Still, getting that seam position correct is reliant on expert and skilfull wrist manipulation as well as correct grip.

After years on the circuit, as a professional bowler playing for his country, Ishant Sharma is incapable of exhibiting this skill. Yet, our captain insists on selecting him in the starting XI.

Posted by wolf777 on (February 5, 2014, 18:15 GMT)

Dhoni does not trust his bowlers and then wants intensity and endurance. He goes into most of the Test Matches with only four bowlers. There is never a reliever allrounder in the team as the fifth bowling option. How can he expect intensity and endurance from the tiered lot? What is the need for the sixth batsman? Make up your mind and choose either Rhane or Rohit Sharma. Most of the time India has problem of not taking wickets after early breakthrough as bowlers get tired.

Posted by   on (February 5, 2014, 17:59 GMT)

Only thing we knew for sure is that india will lose this series..The only question is whether it will be 1-0 or 2-0...

Posted by abeymathew on (February 5, 2014, 17:53 GMT)

if again dhoni goes with aswin, ishant or 4 bowlers attack.. then in the near future d team will be fan-less. already lot of my friends stop watching cricket bcz of dhoni's strategy. in my words, place jadeja instead of rohit, or dhavan, then go with 4 strong fast bowlers.. zak, umesh, shami, panday.. best wishes

Posted by SaraJahanSeAchha on (February 5, 2014, 17:33 GMT)

Dhoni needs to drop Ashwin and bring in Ojha or Mishra a geniune leg spinner. Ashwin is the most overrated bowler except in Indian conditions. It's disappointing that Ishant is not performing well, given the experience and opportunities that he has been given, he should have been the main strike bowler by now. Looks like it's time for Umesh Yadav and Iswar Pandey be given more chances and learn from Zaheer.

Posted by Night.angel on (February 5, 2014, 16:52 GMT)

"Dravid: Bowling attack has let Dhoni down overseas"

Then change the bowling attack. A 4 bowling attack that consists of Ashwin and Ishant is bound to loose the game. Ishant averages 44 with ball overseas.

Don't you get it?

Posted by   on (February 5, 2014, 16:37 GMT)

@sony_sr well put :-). You captured most fans' sentiments.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 5, 2014, 16:32 GMT)

If Dhoni wants to lose, he can't go wrong with bowlers like Ishant and Ashwin. On the other hand, if Dhoni wants to win and save himself, he will be better off selecting Ishwar Pandey instead of Ishant, and Sir Jadeja instead of Ashwin. Not because Sir Jadeja is a great spinner, but because he is the only spinner other than Ashwin.

Posted by Nampally on (February 5, 2014, 16:23 GMT)

In SA the 4 Indian Bowlers escaped by the skin of their teeth from an injury! Let us admit that first, Mr. Dhoni. Why was the second New ball not taken by MSD till he was told by Umpires to take it? Dhoni's excuse was his fast Bowlers were "too Tired"!. Now he is conveniently changing his tune by stating how they bowled with intensity. To be honest a 5th bowler in the side would have won the first Test for India & even the second test slipped away because of Dhoni's foolish tactics in not taking the new ball when it was due. The Test Cricket has not changed that much in 50 years! India always had good spinners & Pataudi went with 4 spinners in XI. Playing without 5 bowlers is nothing short of Insanity. Not a single Country goes in with just 4 Bowlers in Tests because A. It is inviting crippling of one or more bowlers. B. Weak Indian bowling will look even weaker with 4 & C. Impossible to win with 4. Dhoni's fool hardy antics has cost India the SA series & now even the NZ Test Series!

Posted by Nampally on (February 5, 2014, 16:23 GMT)

In SA the 4 Indian Bowlers escaped by the skin of their teeth from an injury! Let us admit that first, Mr. Dhoni. Why was the second New ball not taken by MSD till he was told by Umpires to take it? Dhoni's excuse was his fast Bowlers were "too Tired"!. Now he is conveniently changing his tune by stating how they bowled with intensity. To be honest a 5th bowler in the side would have won the first Test for India & even the second test slipped away because of Dhoni's foolish tactics in not taking the new ball when it was due. The Test Cricket has not changed that much in 50 years! India always had good spinners & Pataudi went with 4 spinners in XI. Playing without 5 bowlers is nothing short of Insanity. Not a single Country goes in with just 4 Bowlers in Tests because A. It is inviting crippling of one or more bowlers. B. Weak Indian bowling will look even weaker with 4 & C. Impossible to win with 4. Dhoni's fool hardy antics has cost India the SA series & now even the NZ Test Series!

Posted by   on (February 5, 2014, 16:13 GMT)

Sounds like a repeat of SA. Ishant, Shami and Zak and of course the same result. Stubborn. Can we just fire Dhoni as captain already? This is great insight into why India wont win test matches under him. He feels controlling runs is the way to go. In fact in one day and tests, taking wickets is far more important these days. His defensive, predictable strategy cost India the one day series to a large extent and will cost India the test series as well.

Posted by Da_Beast on (February 5, 2014, 16:04 GMT)

My Team - 1. Dhawan 2. Vijay 3. Pujara 4. Kohli 5. Rahane 6. Dhoni 7. Jadeja 8. Kumar 9. Zaheer 10. Shami 11. Yadav. India must go with 5 fast bowlers to have any chance of succeeding. It may sell the batting short, but in good batting conditions, the extra batter will not be required as Jadeja/Kumar/Zaheer are more than capable, and the other batters will come into their own as well. In the event of a batting collapse in bowler friendly conditions, the extra batsman will have no chance anyway. India must weigh the benefits of potential runs made by extra batter v. potential for wickets by extra bowler.

Posted by   on (February 5, 2014, 15:24 GMT)

Common sense dictates that an extra pace bowler would be much better than a Rohit least the bowling load would be shared better..and maybe the extra fast bowler may luckily score some 20-30 quick runs too which would be much higher than what Rohit manages...;-)

Posted by greatestallrounder on (February 5, 2014, 15:03 GMT)

This is cause for utter despair!. We need bowlers to back up intensity with international standard bowling skills. Zac is the spearhead and has been successful in NZ before...can he teach and/or are the other medium pacers capable of learning? India needs a team with 4 bowlers and 1 bowling all rounder. Going into a test-series with a 2-man bowling attack, consisting of a (very good) veteran, raw new comer, a batter who bowls, and a trier who only rarely demonstrates international standards in the bowling skills department is incomprehensible. I cannot face staying up tonight in the UK to potentially have to watch that bowling attack being taken apart. Ishant has not been a success...let's give another one of our bowlers who can hit 140k consistently a chance, and replace a lower middle order batsman with a fast-medium bowler. MSD...change, surprise everyone and be bold with your the mould of one Saurav Ganguly, a captain that this Indian fan still reveres!

Posted by kila995 on (February 5, 2014, 14:56 GMT)

I am really hoping that INDIAN team will strike thunder n' lightning for this test and other upcoming series :)

Posted by sony_sr on (February 5, 2014, 14:49 GMT)

The best thing that can happen to indian cricket is to lose this series 2-0. Atleast that will prompt the selectors to drop dhoni as captain and in-effect get rid of the big list of non-performers from team.

Posted by   on (February 5, 2014, 14:42 GMT)

India again will look for a team to declare as the Indian bowlers are incapable to take all wickets.

Posted by wapuser on (February 5, 2014, 14:13 GMT)

Congrats nz ,you can easily will win in first test also ,because ishant and Rohit will available in the team tomorrow .india can aim no.3 test spot in icc test ranking

Posted by IndTheBest on (February 5, 2014, 14:12 GMT)

Seriously! We must change the captain. Gambhir is lot better option to open and lead the team. D Karthik is a better keeper/batsman on away tours. Ishawar Pandey must replace Ishant Sharma. Ashwin to be replaced by another fast bowler Umesh Yadav or B Kumar in order to win matches. Since the batsman I mentioned are in not in the team, they should definitely go with 5 bowlers (no Ishant/Ashwin) to have any chance of winning.

Posted by IndTheBest on (February 5, 2014, 14:12 GMT)

Seriously! We must change the captain. Gambhir is lot better option to open and lead the team. D Karthik is a better keeper/batsman on away tours. Ishawar Pandey must replace Ishant Sharma. Ashwin to be replaced by another fast bowler Umesh Yadav or B Kumar in order to win matches. Since the batsman I mentioned are in not in the team, they should definitely go with 5 bowlers (no Ishant/Ashwin) to have any chance of winning.

Posted by sony_sr on (February 5, 2014, 14:08 GMT)

For heavens sake please don;t pick ishant sharma.

Posted by AlvinJoe on (February 5, 2014, 13:57 GMT)

I hope Ishant Sharma reads the comments about him and take a 5-wicket haul on 6th of February, 2014.

Posted by CricketMaan on (February 5, 2014, 13:56 GMT)

Dhoni - What about skills to take 20 wickets? I guess you have resigned to the thought that we dont possess it?

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (February 5, 2014, 13:51 GMT)

Please, no more Ishant or Ashwin in any Indian team. Ishwar Pandey is way better than Ishant. The last time Ashwin played as a spinner against South Africa, who are known as bad players of spin, he failed to take a single wicket. Even a part time spinner like Duminy took 2 wickets.

Posted by   on (February 5, 2014, 13:50 GMT)

Dhoni bhai on turning Indian tracks, Ashwin Jaddu and Ojha will perform for you but not abroad. Ishanth is useless on any surface. Get Ishwar or Umesh to bowl fast. If you still need Ashwin your only chance is to play him as a batsman where he does not find a slot.

Posted by CricketMaan on (February 5, 2014, 13:49 GMT)

So Zak, Shami, Ishant, Jaddu confirmed. and if Ishant keeps hitting the same lenght like he has done in the recent past neither Zaks' experience, Shami's exuberance or Jaddu's control will help!!! looks like MV,SD,CP,VK,RS,AR,MSD,RJ,ZAK,MS,IS for the first test...good to know the team in advance.

Posted by vrkp on (February 5, 2014, 13:41 GMT)

There you go. Dhoni has confirmed that only 4 bowlers and they are the same from last test match. With Ishant in the team, we can never expect to take 20 wkts let alone actually winning it in away matches. Dhoni as a test captain is rubbish. I never seen him setting up clever field placements for specific batsmen or taking advantage of the batsmen's weaknesses. being calm and quiet will not work always.

He need lead innovatively and smart.

Regarding team selection, i dont believe that MSD has 100% say in playing XI esp. with regard to Rohit and Ishant. I believe he is being pressurised to keep them in the team with the carrot being captaincy in all formats.

Posted by Rahul_78 on (February 5, 2014, 13:25 GMT)

MSD speaking about 3rd and 4th spells for bowlers before a test match which is played in NZ where pitches are suppose,to be green and aid bowlers is clear sign of defensive mindset. Leader leads from the front. Why not expect and ask the bowlers to be more attacking and take 20 wickets, why not use your spin bowling which is your strength and oppositions weaknes to take wickets rather then holding one end up. How about providing more attacking fields to the bowlers instead ofmin out fields which he is somfond off. MSD has forgotten Joburg where Indian bowlers almost failed to defend 450 runs on 5th day pitch. If Indians captain shows faith in his much mailigned bowlers and demand wickets from them thenonly India has any chance of improving the miserable record itmhas under MSD in away tests.

Posted by realfan on (February 5, 2014, 12:50 GMT)

lol, you keep on playing the likes of ishant ( both tests and odi ) and ashwin ( in odi ) , and you expect intensity from them???? lol... instead why dont you show some guts and replace them with some new young talent like yadhav, avrun, ishwar, pankaj....

Posted by firdausahmed on (February 5, 2014, 12:41 GMT)

Apart from endurance and intensity, we need the intent to bowl out any opposition twice in a Test match to really qualify as 2nd rank team in the world.

Posted by pitch_curator on (February 5, 2014, 12:31 GMT)

Test cricket is a test of skill and I don't think Dhoni is getting the point. It does not matter in test cricket if the player is not the quickest on the field or if he contributes only in one area - batting or bowling. The point is that he should be extremely good in that area. Bits and pieces players and good triers are at best fit only for limited overs games. Ashwin is not a good spin bowler outside India because his basics are bad. You can't keep him in the side for batting when his primary skill is exposed. period. Same with Ishant. He has no skill with the ball. Being tall is useless if you don't have the skill to make the ball move in the air or off the pitch. Gamely triers are good to watch only in movies. This is the precise reason why Dhoni will always be a poor captain in test matches while being a decent captain in ODI. For me, he does not understand the basics of the test game at all.

Posted by   on (February 5, 2014, 12:23 GMT)

Looks like all are so biased that Dhoni is wrong in all aspects. The basic fact is that indians do not possess sufficient fire power to match other countries. Though they are strong in batting,even youngsters though given a chance they do not perform sufficiently well. On the other hand Dhoni continues to be in good form as his record goes and why he is being blamed nobody understands. The team is at the end of the current tour, and you cannot expect send the players home and Dhoni cannot ask for new set of players. In that case England would have had to send all the players except one or two from the recent tour of Australia after the second or third test and perhaps they may have had to send t more players for replacement after the fourth test. Just because there are some bowlers who bowl fast and touch speeds of 145/150 it does not mean that they are the best bowlers in India, for even in Ranji Trophy and other tournaments they never showed consistency. Chand n Zol ????

Posted by rajuramki on (February 5, 2014, 12:09 GMT)

My team for tomorrow's test will be Vijay,Dhawan,Pujara,Kohli,Rahane,Dhoni,Ashwin,Jadeja,Zaheer,Shami,Pandey . There cannot be room for Rohit & Ishant . While Ashwin can bat as competently as Rohit , if not better , Pandey will any day be better than Ishant or Umesh . If Dhoni still persists Rohit and Ishant , the match will get over on the 4th day ,in favour of Newzeland.

Posted by Sunman81 on (February 5, 2014, 11:53 GMT)

Surprising to note that MSD is still sticking with same set of bowlers despite their consistent poor performance...Never seen a captain defending his worst bowler.... Morkel is also a first change bowler, but still he strikes consistently..

India definitely have some talented fast bowlers. But it is the lack of faith shown by the Indian captain to try new players causing the problem... MSD was known for his experimental selection and strategy in his popular days…but this trait seems to be missing now and it shows with the result… India will struggle to put up a performance in the away matches as long MSD sticks with same set of proven failed players!

Posted by job_eapen on (February 5, 2014, 11:50 GMT)

can't understand why dhoni is still trying to persist with Ishant... he is not even giving chances to anyone else... he is making a fool out of himself... really don't understand why he keep on backing up players who haven't performed at all.... Ishant not good on any pitches whether its Indian pitches or overseas conditions.


Posted by Karunk on (February 5, 2014, 11:46 GMT)

Dhoni needs to be more innovative & flexible in team selection when it comes to test cricket because no one bowler is capable of running thru' the side and it includes Zaheer. Maximum, each will take 2 & at the most 3 wickets. So, he needs 5 bowlers to take 20 wickets and hope for the win. We are sure that Dhawan will not succeed as an opener because of his limited technique and his urge to hook & pull the bouncers. His contribution will not be more than 20 runs. It is better to play Ashwin as an opener and 5th bowler. Zaheer, Shami & Ishwar Pande as 3 fast bowlers & Jadeja as the spinner. It is a balanced attack. Whether it is one day or tests, Dhoni keeps opting for his 'tried & tested' combination, i.e, 3 fast bowlers & one spinner with Ishant being one of them. This combination is tested for many seasons now for leaking too many runs and not taking 20 wickets. It is time for Dhoni to try new combinations..

Posted by Srilanka-rules on (February 5, 2014, 11:11 GMT)

Indian bowling , I predict

SA : Zaheer, Ishant, Shami, Jadeja / Ashwin - game lost NZ : Zaheer, Ishant, Shami, Jadeja / Ashwin - game lost ENG (2014) : Zaheer, Ishant, Shami, Jadeja / Ashwin - game lost AUS (2014) : Zaheer, Ishant, Shami, Jadeja / Ashwin - game lost

2015 :

And finally Dhoni dropped. Now, chances for other youngsters to play for India.

Posted by Hummingbird0 on (February 5, 2014, 10:50 GMT)

I was an ardent fan of Dhoni when he won T20 world cup with a bunch of rookies. On those days, he would support the youngsters, respect the seniors like Sehwag and Gambhir and give opportunity to new talents to perform.

But now, he has a coterie of people that he likes. World knows how bad the likes of Ishant, Ashwin and Raina was. Raina is excellent in India but in India only. Once any bowl bounce, even from medium pacers, he freaks out. And everybody know it. Now because of Raina the tagline "Indians can't play Short ball came to exist" when likes of Sachin, Dravid, Kohli and even Pujara has proved wrong.

Dhoni has stopped supporting other individuals. Consistently, he denied any chances to Amit Mishra, Manoj Tiwary in ODIs by selecting Ashwin and Rohit in place of them.

In Tests, it seems Ishwar Pandey is the latest unfortunate victim of Dhoni's narrow mindset by backing Ishant again.

Guys, Ishant can extract bounce but he averages 42 OVERSEAS. Pandey can also extract bounce.

Posted by   on (February 5, 2014, 10:43 GMT)

The most important thing for India is to relieve Dhoni of the captaincy and hand it over to Cheteshwar Pujara. After this move, do the following :- a) bring in Dinesh Karthik who can be a real competitor to Dhoni as wk/batsman in both Tests and one dayers. b) drop Ishant Sharma & play Bhuvi along with Shami and Zaheer c) play Amit Mishra/ Ojha & 3 pacers.

My team would look something like this : Ashwin, Rahane, Pujara (cap), Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni (wk), Jadeja, Mishra, Bhuvi, Zaheer, Shami. 12th man : Suresh Raina.

The idea is to WIN not hope to draw.

Posted by LongLiveTestCricket on (February 5, 2014, 10:40 GMT)

So he's again there - praising shoddy and mediocre performances with reasons like we did well when there was help from the wicket and there was one bad session.Means we'll have Ishant back and the same listless look on fans faces.As clearly demonstrated by the ODI performances of bowlers with new rules, they are literally unable to get anybody out with their limited skills and can only survive with defensive ODI fields.Test cricket does not allow this liberty. Although Zaheer has been a great bowler but now age has caught up with him and he can only be limited.There would be a one-off performance here and there but largely Dhoni & Fletcher do not have a clue on how to win matches abroad.Same goes with Dhoni's batting overseas. With nobody wiling to take any bold decisions to groom new talent in place of tried and wasted ones, the future looks bleak too.

Posted by HarrowXI on (February 5, 2014, 10:40 GMT)


Could you please take a long interview of MSD and ask what is so special about Ishant, Rohit,Ashwin & Raina ?

Why they keep getting a chance again and again. They had so many opportunities. Its so frustrating as a viewer.

Please tell MSD, India got the population of Billion people. You can get better player than this in every other street ? It sound something fishy.

People like Raydu,DK,Ishwar Pandey,Yadav,Aron there careers are over before it started as dhoni dont want to experiement. Its look like he made his mind about the playing XI.

Selectors are doing there bits by selecting 17 best players in india. But dhoni keep playing the same playing XI. Its high time for selectors to drop this players and select a young 16 or 17 players so dhoni dont have an option to keep picking the players.


Posted by Sultan2007 on (February 5, 2014, 10:18 GMT)

I am sorry Mahi, even though I am an ardent admirer of yours, I have to disagree with your views on Ishant. First, Ishant has a flawed release and cannot be relied upon to be a game changer and Second, in a 4 man bowling attack, you cant have a One change stock bowler who is going to keep it tight. Especially in overseas conditions when your lone spinner is also being relied upon to keep it tight. Who is going to take the 20 wickets? Leading Objective has to be that each of the 4 bowlers should be capable of taking 5 wickets in a match

Posted by Night.angel on (February 5, 2014, 10:17 GMT)

Well, What Dhoni asks is too much from Ishant Sharma. If this person ( Ishant) is playing again and again despite averaging 73 with Bowl in Aus, 54 in England and 56 in SA, team is bound to loose.

"It is important you keep hitting the same length, and try to get the batsmen out with his extra bounce" Well, Dhoni you could ask this from ISHWAR PANDEY, he can deliver it,but not from IShant Sharma

Dhoni as a person, is a narrow minded one. He cannot think beyond his favourites Ashwin, Ishant and Raina.And he is too defensive as captain. Of course, he won World cup, Champions Trophy but that is in ODI FORMAT. In Tests, he lack creativeness to think beyond his favourite personnel, when time and again,even when normal people could see what is ailing problem with bowling department

If Dhoni goes like, I for one,will stop watching cricket all together.Its really disgusting when you don't back youngsters and supports the likes of Ishant Sharma's who is an utter failure in overseas condition

Posted by Naresh28 on (February 5, 2014, 10:08 GMT)

@patties1984 - selectors should test Kedar Jadhav and KL Rahul on a A-tour. That will give an indication of these guys are ready for the big league. For now Vijay and Rahane would be the best at top. For Rahane it would be a test to see if he can hold his end up, this would have been better done in a side game.

Posted by vagee on (February 5, 2014, 10:04 GMT)

Please dhoni we don want to get up so early in the morning and see NZ batsmen smashing ishant... Just like england are having dernbach in their playing 11 in all the matches even though he fails in every game, ishant gets to play all the test matches. But dernbach plays only T20. this is test cricket. one has to earn his place. With due respect to ishant, he is surely giving his 100%, running in hard and also he has produced many excellent spells. But the consistency and regularly wicket aking ability is missing from him and he has got many chances more than what he deserves. So I wish one out of umesh or ishwar pandey gets selected instead of ishant. But knowing dhoni i ll say its unlikely :( Also I believe in current form ashwin is a better batsmen than rohit. Also we can use him if any of the fast bowler have an off day.

MY TEAM : Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Dhoni, Ashwin, Jadeja, Zaheer, Ishwar pandey, Shammi.

Posted by Naresh28 on (February 5, 2014, 9:50 GMT)

@cpt.Meanster - agreed. If your role is a bowler then please take wickets. Each bowler should work towards getting two wickets in an innings - that should be their goal. If they take more that is a bonus. If you go wicketless it means you are not bowling well - someone else deserves the spot you are occupying. Taking wickets is important for winning.

Posted by MAYURESHmagic on (February 5, 2014, 9:19 GMT)

The rule of winning big tournaments is not to show your real strengths and skills and learn the weakness of oppositions by the time and expose to that in tournaments like world cup and champions trophy like Pakistan does and India also started doing it. They lost to England in England during 2011 in all formats but dominated Champions Trophy during similar time phase in England.

Posted by InsideHedge on (February 5, 2014, 9:17 GMT)

Good ole MSD already talking about bowling FOUR spells in one day for each of his "pace" bowlers, it speaks volumes about his negativity as a captain. Some may say he's a realist but here's some reality: we've lost 9 of our last 12 away Tests, all under MSD.

We can't even win a single ODI; this NZ team failed to beat West Indies in their previous ODI series, drawing 2-2 yet WI were accurately described as a poor team.

Well, cometh the man, cometh the hour. Let's welcome back Ishant Sharma. In fairness, he doesn't select himself and one can never deny that he tries his best. The fact that his best is nowhere good enough yet MSD insists on selecting him as the first change bowler. He's gone from spearhead to a bowler who will keep things tight when the ball is 25 overs old and unlikely to move laterally! If we do lose this Test series, it may well be the end of MSD as our Test skipper, and that won't be such a bad thing.

Posted by gauravm5 on (February 5, 2014, 9:17 GMT)

The whole world including Ishant Sharma excluding dhoni know Ishant would fail again. So what would be Ishant's excuses this time to justify his another failure? I think he wud say any of the following: 1: my job was to contain runs.......2: Captain asked me to go for wickets, not consider about how many runs they score off you.....3: I didn't bowl badly but the batsmen didn't put enough runs on the board.....4: It was one of bad days for me, can happen to any cricketer, remember I troubled Ponting in Perth in 2008.

Posted by SamRoy on (February 5, 2014, 9:07 GMT)

Then drop Zaheer and Ishant if India wants to win. India needs to play Jadeja, Shami, bhuvi and Pandey.

Posted by SanjivAwesome on (February 5, 2014, 9:04 GMT)

Ishant is in? We will lose to NZ unless it rains. He is going in with his Team Dhoni while the Indian team awaits on the sidelines.

Posted by   on (February 5, 2014, 8:34 GMT)

again Ishant and may be result will come 2-0 against india

Posted by Rags57 on (February 5, 2014, 8:24 GMT)

It's frustrating to see Dhoni persist with the same team, same set of fast bowlers irrespective of what they are capable of and what their current form is. Ishant has been so terrible that to persist with him in a 4-bowler attack is going to let NZ off the hook even if they are 75 for 3 or 4 wickets - Zaheer is aging and Shami is not necessarily an accurate consistent bowler and lacking experience. So if you are looking to contain with Jadeja you are already settling for at best a draw. To do that against SA or Aus would have been OK but against NZ it shows how defensive Dhoni can get. It's time we have a change of captaincy - Virat is ready to take over so let the selectors take that bold step BEFORE the world cup.

Posted by sidganesh on (February 5, 2014, 8:20 GMT)

Dhawan and Rohit have played so poorly in both ODIs and Tests overseas. They have been sitting ducks and a huge liability. Perhaps we would be better off playing an additional bowler (Pandey/Bhuvi) in place of one of these non-performers. Any takers?

Posted by Patties1984 on (February 5, 2014, 8:01 GMT)

Energy Levels comes second to wicket taking ability. As a strike bowler if you cannot take 4-5 wickets you should not be in the team. So please replace Ishant with 1&2>Varun Aaron/Umesh Yadav (Fastest bowlers in the country). 3&4>Sandeep Sharma/Ishwar Pandey (Excellent Prospects). 5>Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Best swing bowler) 6>Rishi Dhavan (Fast Bowling Allrounder we have been searching for). I am happy for Jadeja. The game may be complex but selection isint. Why is Kedar Jadhav not yet selected he was by far the best batsmen this RANJI 2014. 1200 Runs / Avg 90/ Sr 80. You cannot ask for better performance MR Dhoni. Dhavan is not a test player & Kedar would be the perfect replacement.

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (February 5, 2014, 7:55 GMT)

Firstly, Dhoni needs to man up and do things that are in the best interests of the team. Why does he persist with Ishant Sharma and Ashwin all the time ? Why not give opportunity to Ishwar Pandey ? He would do a splendid job with Zaheer. Then we have Shami who could be the third seamer. Jadeja can play as an all rounder because the pitch won't spin and in NZ, one spinner is more than enough. So it would be 6 batsmen and 4 bowlers. I don't want to see Ishant and Ashwin any where near the test team in overseas conditions. So before he asks bowlers to bowl long spells, he needs to remind himself to pick the right players for the team.

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