Port Elizabeth: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that Virat Kohli’s form has been a big positive for India with an eye on the World Cup. Kohli struck an unbeaten 87 during India’s 46-run loss in the fourth ODI here yesterday.
“It’s good for us. The more the number of in-form batsmen, the better it is. I think it’s a big positive for us, and we hope that he (Virat) keeps scoring,” Dhoni told reporters at the post match press conference.
About the nature of the strip, the Indian captain felt that it was on the slower side.
“I think it was slower than some of the wickets we get in India. It was a bit of a worry for the batsmen because you have to get used to the pace of the wicket, and then only you can score,” Dhoni said.
Asked whether the wicket was a damp one, he said, “I don’t mind a damp wicket again. I don’t think it will really happen. And I am hopeful there won’t be any Duckworth-Lewis involved in that game, so that’s what we are hoping, but we will
exactly see how it is when we land in Jo’burg.”
The skipper did admit that playing with four bowlers may be problematic at times.
Dhoni was supportive about some of the players having an off-day.
“Players do have off days. Till they perform consistently in between, they don’t have an off day. If two of them don’t have an off-day together, it’s better off. It always happens in cricket.”
“It does become tough because we always play with just four bowlers. The big positive in this series has been the part-timers. They have performed consistently for us, so definitely it is a big positive. Especially going into the World Cup,” he reasoned.
“Once we got five wickets, we needed that one more wicket, which we never really got. I used close to eight bowlers, and at times you fancy saying eight bowlers were
“But it may be a sign where you can say “Okay, the captain needed one more wicket at that point of time.” Their batsmen batted really well, kept the good deliveries out and scored at a brisk pace.”
Dhoni made a light-hearted comment as to why he chose to hand over the big gloves to Parthiv Patel in the final few overs.
“I am a better fielder than Parthiv for sure. There are two things why I am better than him. I am taller than him, and I am faster than him. That was the reason why I said I will field for the last five overs.”
With series being level at 2-2, Dhoni feels that it couldn’t have got bigger and better than this.
“I don’t think it can get any better. The best teams in the world are playing against each other. If you see the Test series, it went on till last Test and it’s same for the ODIs.”
About the final one-dayer being the last one before the World Cup, Dhoni said, “Every game is important. Irrespective of whether it’s the fifth game of the series, the decider, or the first game of the series. It’s because of the first four games that the fifth game is so interesting. Or will be so interesting. It’s an ideal set-up for the whole series, the whole tour, you can say. May the best team win.”
About the failure of the middle-order batsmen, he said, “Not only me, the South African side will also be waiting for their batsmen to perform. Most of the middle-order batsmen have not really clicked. That’s a bit of a worry as far as this series is concerned. But I feel the subcontinent wickets will be very different, the scenario will be different.”
On the tracks that will be on offer for World Cup, Dhoni said, “More often than not, you will see high-scoring games back home in India. It’s a bit of a different scenario here, where 250-odd runs seem like 300,” he concluded.
He conceded that they failed in quickly breaking the sixth-wicket partnership.