Zimbabwe v India, 3rd T20I, Harare June 22, 2016

Bangar hails Dhoni's mentoring skills

ESPNcricinfo staff

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'Thought 140 was a good score on this wicket' - Bangar

On Wednesday, MS Dhoni captained India for the 324th time in international cricket, and joined Ricky Ponting on top of the global list. That is a lot of experience, and Sanjay Bangar, India's interim head coach, has said Dhoni went out of the way to share it with his young and inexperienced squad over the course of this Zimbabwe tour.

"I definitely felt that he opened up quite a bit," Bangar said, after India won the third T20I by three runs to wrap up the series 2-1. "He had a lot of interactions with the players. He made that effort to go out and mingle with them, he probably invited them for dinners and they [spent time] over Playstations together.

"He went out of the way to make them comfortable, shared his experience with the younger guys, probably emphasised on the value of how to handle pressure, under match situations what are the things that are required to be done. So I think those were enormous learnings.

"What he also did fantastically was he passed on the tradition of Indian cricket, because these younger lot are the future of Indian cricket, and the way he shared his experience was very, very similar to how the earlier generation used to pass on the knowledge and the experience and just make a younger player comfortable in the dressing room, so he made all that effort and it was great to see."

India batted first for the first time on the tour, and were tested by Zimbabwe's bowlers on a slow, low Harare surface. They eventually posted 138, thanks in large part to Kedar Jadhav's maiden T20I half-century. Bangar was pleased with how Jadhav - who only got to bat twice in six matches on this tour - has grabbed his opportunities, mentioning his ODI century on India's previous visit in 2015 as another example.

"The last time he played for India, probably it was again a year ago, he got a hundred in the series," Bangar said. "He didn't get too many opportunities in this series, this was only the second time that he could go out and bat, and he played an amazing innings, because he was having some issues.

"As he went in, he wasn't feeling too good, but he hung in and fought through, and the kind of innings he produced on a difficult wicket, I felt that showed the quality of the player, so he's doing all that he can in the opportunities that he's getting.

At 31, Jadhav is the second-oldest player in India's squad behind Dhoni, but Bangar felt that shouldn't prevent him from having a sizeable international career.

"Age doesn't really matter because, nowadays, most of the guys are keeping themselves very fit, they have fantastic work discipline," he said. "It's just a matter of some individual getting a couple of opportunities simultaneously, and consecutively, so that he feels comfortable in match situations. These are quality players and they're bound to come good."

Bangar made special mention of Axar Patel for his consistency with the ball and also his finishing skills down the order. Axar was India's most economical bowler in the ODI series, conceding only 2.32 runs an over in three matches, and his left-arm spin was just as frugal in the T20Is, as his economy rate of 4.91 suggested. He only got to bat twice on the tour, both times in the T20I series, and scored 38 runs off just 20 balls. He played a key role in India's narrow win in the third T20I, scoring an unbeaten 20 off 11 balls and conceding only 18 in his four overs while dismissing Hamilton Masakadza.

"I think not only today, but throughout the series, he kept the pressure on," Bangar said. "Probably, he was our most economical bowler. I don't really know the exact stat, but he was very, very consistent. He maintained that pressure throughout, and not only his bowling, but generally, the way he fielded, a couple of catches that he took, and the way he finishes the innings. He got an opportunity in two T20s, the first and the third game, and he is proving to be a very good developing player at No. 7 or No. 8, who is capable of hitting the big shots. That's really encouraging for Indian cricket."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Samir on June 25, 2016, 19:03 GMT

    There is lot of positive about India's Zim tour. Good decision to carry on MSD with left out star players like Kohli, Ashvin, Raina, Rohit, Jadeja. Majority of youngsters did good and the way MSD orders, they have delivered. So MSD was more comfortable with these young force rather superstar players!! India has now more options which MSD also got it with this tour and I would say MSD will be more comfortable with Anil Kumble rather out spoken Ravi Shashtri. Specially Ravi spoke against MSD and fever towards Kohli, in this thing, Ravi should not allow for any role in coaching. I would say better to get batting coach as Azharuddin or Ajay Jadeja, On his second career chance, they will be much honest and give their all experience to Indian team better.

  • Ron on June 23, 2016, 13:17 GMT

    Himsez, are you kidding? India won these matches despite Dhoni whose main contribution was the loss in the first T20. @Rachits, completely agree. Jadeja has been coasting in the team as the 'all rounder' on the back of Dhoni's unwavering support. He is the proverbial deer in the headlights when confronted with decent bowling (whether pace or spin), That Australia loss was like the highlight of his inept batting and responsibility. I would rather they keep trying more lower order players to find a good one rather than settle on Axar too soon.

  • Rachit on June 23, 2016, 11:50 GMT

    wow, so many ppl supporting jaddu over axar!! over the last couple of yrs, jadeja has shown that he is selfish and absolutely incapable of big hits. equally incapabale of long innings. axar atleast shows intent and can hit big

  • Mann on June 23, 2016, 9:16 GMT

    India played really tough cricket vs Zimbabwe in the 3 Match T20 series. They could have easily lost 2-1. But they showed great temperament to defeat the zimbabwe side that did not have ervine and williams. Thats so great about dhoni!

  • Mohammed on June 23, 2016, 8:54 GMT

    Although statistically Axar should be an easy replacement for Jadeja but we are yet to see him on sporting pitches against good pace bowling on which Jadeja has done farely well. Limited Overs is not an issue for Team India its the Tests that require some really good players. I am not sure if these same players can translate there limited overs performance into test match winning performances.

  • saravanan on June 23, 2016, 0:51 GMT

    Jaddu will be a better package than Axar!! Better batsman Better bowler and far better fielder!!!

  • Ron on June 22, 2016, 19:22 GMT

    While Axar did score here, his ability against better attacks is real suspect. Between him and Jadeja, I am not sure who is a better lower order bat but Jadeja has experience on his side now. However, his absolutely selfish play in the ODI that India lost in Aus was beyond terrible. Don't think Jadhav has a very good technique (seems suspect like Rayudu against good fast bowling) and it would be tough to book a spot in a middle order lineup that is being contested by exciting young batsmen (Rahane, Rahul, Pandey, Nair, Iyer etc.).

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