New Zealand v India, 2nd Test, Wellington, 5th day February 18, 2014

Dhoni lauds bowlers' will


'Fantastic the way our bowlers bowled' - Dhoni

Twice in four Tests now, Inda have failed to convert a strong position into victory. At the Wanderers, they even came close to losing after setting South Africa a target of 458. At Basin Reserve, they had New Zealand five down and still needing 152 to make the visitors bat again, but were unable to dislodge triple-centurion Brendon McCullum and BJ Watling, who went on to build a match-saving 352-run partnership.

MS Dhoni felt India had tried everything they could, and lauded the efforts of his quicks, emphasizing that the opposition had just been too good.

"We bowled for two-and-a-half days. We tried our best in all fielding positions," Dhoni said. "Right from catching slips to catching covers to deep square leg to deep point and bowling on the pads to bowling outside off. We tried three new balls to get them out. At times it works, at times it does not work. After that, you have to appreciate that at times, the opposition can also bat well. We don't always have to put pressure on our bowlers and batters saying we batted badly or we bowled badly.

"I think as a cricket fan, he (McCullum) batted really well. And he was given good company by Watling and they kept playing. They played a lot of deliveries. Playing close to 500-odd deliveries is itself very tough, forget the amount of runs he has scored. I think it was one of the good innings we were able to see."

McCullum and Watling consumed 926 deliveries between them. India had sent down 136 overs in the second innings in Johannesburg, while they ended up bowling 210 in the second innings in Wellington. Dhoni had appreciated his toiling fast bowlers in South Africa as well, and he was pleased again with the intensity they had shown at the Basin.

"I think it was fantastic to see the way our bowlers bowled. Specially the fact that when they took the second and third new ball, still they were willing to put in a lot of effort. You don't get to see sides playing with three fast bowlers and one spinner and putting the kind of effort that our side did. Overall, we will accept that we were not able to get two batsmen out. They batted really well, we will give credit to them but at the same time, what really needs to be appreciated is the will and the way our fast bowlers tried to get the opposition out on a really flat wicket.

As I said, to maintain pressure with 3-1 combination becomes difficult. That was one area where our fast bowlers did really well. They were able to hit consistent line and length throughout. We bowled close to 200-odd overs and still they were able to hit the same spot with good intensity which itself means a lot."

Dhoni said it was difficult to pinpoint why India were falling short after getting ahead in games. "We are trying. It is not like making food where you say, okay, salt is missing, that is why it is not good. Where we are lacking, that is a difficult one to answer. In the last two series, we have not been able to capitalise when we were in similar situation. I think it is good we were in a situation like that and slowly we will be able to capitalise also."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chetan on February 19, 2014, 14:57 GMT

    MS - for once you have done the right thing, lauding the bowlers' efforts. They were handicapped by the kind of fielding support you & your batsmen provided to them AND the team management & media kept picking on the bowlers, giving no consideration to the lack of support that the bowlers had to suffer. Regarding your comment along the lines of - we have done the best we could....If the Murali Vijay dropped an easy one in the first test which cost India more than the 40 runs we lost the test by, Virat Kohli dropped a sitter in the 2nd test which cost India 299 runs. If that is the best that team India can do under your leadership, we deserve to be at the bottom of the test rankings.

  • Pradyot on February 19, 2014, 7:02 GMT

    the main problem in India is disgusting logic of parents toward sports...mainly the most literates parents wants that their child should be only IITIAN, IAS,doctors or some other respected works ..I am a good top order batsman and a genuine fast bowler...and my Indian team also need a fast bowling all rounder..but my dad wants me to be an engineer bcoz i m good in i had to leave cricket. In the last January season i have just played 4 matches and my batting avg was 122.32 which includes two half century and a century and i have bagged 19 wickets too and was favorite to be chosen for next level but the god and my mom and dad doesn't want to see me as a cricketer.sometime i weep a lot in alone but.......this was my story and i m sure that many indian bros would have gone through the similar situation...we Indians have the talent but our thinking are biased..

  • Amit on February 19, 2014, 6:47 GMT

    how can one justify dhoni playing both the tests with 3 bowlers ? sorry to say but jadeja isnt a bowler. at the most jadeja's role is to block one end up , so that is again negative mindset. and out of the 3 Ishant is always a question mark he can be very good or he can be very bad, zaheer is back from injury and nowhere near his fittest self. shami is only saving grace. even SA cant afford to play with 3 bowlers even if those 3 are STEYN , PHILANDER And MORKEL. 1 more bowler in the 2nd test would have allowed india to get those crucial 6th and 7th wicket. cant expect 3 bowlers to take 20 wickets in every match. sorry dhoni but india conceded their win chances before starting both the matches. best they could do was save the tests with 7 batsman plus a so-called batsman allrounder jadeja.

  • Raghavendra on February 19, 2014, 4:58 GMT

    Its an amazing and ofcourse bemusing while reading the comments! All want dhoni' head for India' debacle. For those who criticize Dhoni and Indian bowlers /batters should remember that Indians are lions at home and lambs at abroad, how can we expect that sacking Dhoni would make India No 1. Even when great and solid players like RAHUL, SACHIN, LAXMAN were playing at their prime, India did not exhibit supremacy in abroad. Dont forget that we were thrashed blue and black by Australia and England 8-0 though we had RAHUL+SACHIN+LAXMAN. Cricket is a team game and every player should contribute but in Indian team every one wants to consolidate their position/average rather than team perfomance, Thats the reason we are losing..

  • Vatsal on February 19, 2014, 3:39 GMT

    @Ajisob Precisely that. DHoni the captain backs his players 100% and gives them long enough rope without having to have added pressure of getting dropped.

    ANd luckily for Murali, he has proved his talent to DHoni first hand while in CSK.

    its just the way things work man.

    I was sent no.7 in my team. One time i was in a 120run partnership with a captain, and the next game i was promoted to no.3

  • balaji on February 19, 2014, 3:21 GMT

    I am sure that selectors will select only the same squad and selectors wants to enormous opportunities to rohit sharma who fails in crucial stages and rohit sharma will be selected based on his 72 and 31.I will even sign it and give you rohit will fail in england and australia series.I think jaddu can't even utilise the pitch after it supported spinners on last 2 sessions of day 4 play.So for the next upcoming tour ashwin,pragyan,shreyas gopal or pervez rassol should lead the spin attack.while zaheer should retire as his 5 wicket haul hasn't helped in any way.while ishant sharma can't be able to take any wicket if there is no assistance.So selectors should better sack both ishant and zaheer and may be they can recall vinay only for test as he swinging the ball really well even though he lacks speed.So rohit can be replaced by aparajith or dinesh karthik.

  • Dummy on February 19, 2014, 3:01 GMT

    Lol at the guy saying Ashwin and Jadeja are better batsmen than neesham? Based on what? Indian fans can just say the most embarrassing things at times that shows how little they actually understand about cricket.. And yet this is the country who wants to run world cricket? Sure New Zealand doesn't have the best team in the world... But hey we have a population of 4 million not 1 billion like India.. But at least he have some understanding of the game unlike the hordes of Indian fans who post ridiculous comments on here that have no basis in reality. A Facebook account does not make one a cricket expert. Neither does google.

  • HNL on February 19, 2014, 2:34 GMT

    If MSD still does not know or wants to know what is going wrong, it is the kind of team that he and the other tour selectors pick while on away tours. He cannot expect a fast bowler to bowl 40-50 overs an innings every other time. Zak is nearing the end of his playing career and he is asked to bowl 40+ overs, that is absolutely ridiculous. How long can anyone take this kind of grind ? They should pick a 5th bowling option who can contribute better than Rohit Sharma and put him in the team. Spinner won't be able to do the job of picking wickets on pitches like the one at the Basin. Same had happened at Wanderers too. So, people like Jadeja or Ashwin must play primarily as batsmen in such conditions while their bowling comes in handy to give rest to the overworked seamers. In my view, Ashwin would have been a far better choice than Rohit Sharma for the Wellington test. Lastly, India must try and find a competent leggie who can bat a bit. That option will be a real handy weapon.

  • Peter on February 19, 2014, 1:45 GMT

    As per MSD statement, he won't admit his mistakes and still depending his strategy of 3:1 policy which kill the team so far, therefore we can expect this thing will happend until MSD step down from test cricket but wonder no one from either BCCI or Ex'cricketers comment about MSD's poor aproach leading world record failures and he stuborn to change his basics.

  • David on February 19, 2014, 1:20 GMT

    Man i wish Dhoni was my boss. I have never been praised for spending days doing an awful job. If I had spent 2 days doing work as bad as that I would have been fired on the spot, with no severance pay!

    Hmmmm. Come to think of it, the same fate might face India's bowlers.

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