World T20 2014: Dhoni Eyes Title, Happy with Winning Combination
By Shruthi SU | March 24, 2014 10:04 PM EST
Is it the player combinations that make India's Mahendra Singh Dhoni a winning captain? Or is it his decisions and moves in the course of the match that earn India victories? Whatever it is, Dhoni has gone with his instincts and kept up the hopes of millions, after two victories - against Pakistan and West Indies - in the group stage of the World T20 2014.
The Indian bowlers have been phenomenal in the two matches. Pacer Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and spinners Amit Mishra and R Ashwin have taken on the responsibility and played with the variations so brilliantly that they have all given away less than run-a-ball in what is supposedly a batsman's format. And to top it all, Mishra walked out with two straight man-of-the-match awards.
"People bowl or bat according to their strengths," Dhoni said about Mishra. "He was feeling a bit of nerves against Pakistan and I went up to him and told him 'you are known to turn the ball, flight it and vary the pace'. I told him 'don't just try to bowl the straighter one, and try to bowl back of length so that batsman can't hit' because his biggest strength is to flight and deceive batsmen.
"During the Pakistan game, I knew he was not bowling his hundred percent. I knew with that man-of-the-match performance, he will get better in the coming matches. He bowled well against Gayle and used the odd variations. There will be days when like other bowlers he may also get hit but it's important that he backs his strength.
Bhuvaneshwar managed to swing so beautifully that the West Indies openers could hardly read him. Dhoni was only more than ready to talk about the 24-year-old pacer.
"His job was to use the new ball well and not give too many loose deliveries," Dhoni pointed out. "Today there was a bit of help and he was bowling in the right areas. He bowled brilliantly as he was able to swing the ball and length was also very crucial."
If Bhuvaneshwar is seen more as a new-ball specialist, Dhoni needs to have a go-to man for the death overs too.
"We have Shami, to whom we look upon as a death over specialist," the 32-year-old said. "I am trying to get one more bowler, it may be Jadeja, Ashwin or whoever, as a death over specialist."
When the team is winning, so little is said about the players who underperform. Though it's too early to speak, the fact is Yuvraj Singh has failed in both matches.
"Yuvraj is one of the best players of T20 but yes you can say that he is not in great touch at the moment," captain cool said. "It becomes tough when you are dropped from ODIs and then you make a comeback in the T20 squad. So there's bit of pressure on him.
"It takes one or two matches. Probably, he will get back into flow as we know how good a match-winner he is."
Dhoni said he was happy with his team's overall performance, despite a few missed catches, and when asked if it was finally time to flash a smile, he knew better.
"I still smile when I lose," the experienced skipper said. "I know cricket is a big part of our lives but it is not the only life we lead. Of course, you are disappointed when you lose a game but there will be times when you won't win."
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