skipper MS Dhoni in action during the 4th ODI against New Zealand. BCCI
MS Dhoni has been going on like a broken record about the bowling performance of his side all through the series, and the India skipper stuck to the same tune yet again after seeing his team crash to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory against New Zealand, which in turn ended any chances of the away side at least levelling the five-match series.
The Kiwis, led by Ross Taylor, eased to the target of 279 with nearly two overs to spare in the 4th ODI in Hamilton, and Dhoni was far from amused with his fast bowlers' show.
"It was a wicket where you would like the bowlers to hit the back of length mark close to the off-stump area but right from the start we gave away too many boundaries," Dhoni said. "We gave too much width to the batsmen and the balls were quite short, which meant they could freely score off them. So we didn't start off well.
"We need a fair amount of improvement especially in our bowling department. If the batsman is playing good shots, you accept it but it is important that we bowl according to what the plan is and not go off it. To some extent it was quite a disappointing bowling performance from the fast bowlers."
The spinners have also been a problem child for India away from home of late, but R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja did pretty well this time around, restricting the New Zealand batsmen to minimum runs, without taking any wickets, though. The pacers, however, could not back their spinners up, with the Kiwis taking full toll of the various never-stopping gifts handed out to them.
"When it comes to the bowling department, we are still in the same phase wherein we are still looking at who our permanent bowlers are," Dhoni added. "We know the spinners and they look good and we know they are the ones who will carry on until the World Cup provided there are no injuries. Fast bowling, we are still not sure who our choices are and what individuals we are looking forward to.
"Back at home we talk about pace and bounce. We get bowlers who can bowl quick but they end up giving more runs without even bowling at the slog. So we have to find a fair balance.
"After the 10th over [in the 4th one-dayer] when we initiated the spinners to come and bowl, they bowled quite well and then when we again asked the fast bowlers to come back and bowl, they gave away the runs freely, which means we weren't able to hang on to the pressure created by the spinners."
Dhoni is perhaps now ruing the fact that he took off Ashwin and Jadeja after a ten over spell in tandem, with the skipper then choosing to go back to some of his pacers, while also puzzlingly giving Ambati Rayudu a go.
Also, debutant Stuart Binny, after not being given a chance to shine with the bat, was only given one over, raising questions on just why the all-rounder was chosen on a slow pitch which was aiding the slower bowlers, as the man that sat out for him - Suresh Raina - would have certainly come into play with the ball.
"I saw the first ten overs how the fast bowlers bowled," the skipper said. "I wasn't sure they would be able to keep the pressure on. So I personally thought that it was important to keep the spinners, especially Jadeja, and use them later to some extent when New Zealand had to go for the big shots.
"But the way the fast bowlers bowled in the middle overs, it meant that they never really had to play those big shots. That was a crucial phase where, with the open field, we should not have given away too many runs. But we were giving a boundary every over and we were not able to build any pressure."
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