Top three not playing all games because they are slow: Dhoni
Brisbane: Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Sunday backed the team`s rotation policy in the top order, saying the top three batsmen were not playing each game because they are slow on the field.
Dhoni explained the reasons why Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir are not playing all the games together, even as India lost the tri-series game against Australia by 110 runs at the Gabba here.
"It might happen (they playing together, but) it would affect our fielding in a big way, it`s not only these three, there are quite a few other players who are also slow on the field. If you really add it up, you would have only two or three good fielders.”
"These fielders are not bad but on these big fields, they are slightly on the slower side. They would be exploited once the ball goes to them, the Australians and Sri Lankans would look for those two or three runs to put pressure on their body. Their throwing and diving needs to be good," Dhoni said.
The skipper said fielding in the big grounds of Australia could lead to breakdowns.
"They are safe fielders on the slower side. The pressure would be on them. They would have to throw from positions where there would be pressure on them. There would be breakdowns. It`s not like India where the ball goes to a boundary and you just throw it back. Here, you can pull muscle or a hamstring.
"Batting and bowling is something which has variables but fielding is one department where you could always score. It keeps the morale of the team up, there is intensity."
Dhoni was pretty upset that the third umpire initially gave Mike Hussey out and then informed the on field umpires that the wrong button was pressed.
"I just told them (the two umpires) it's difficult to be an umpire if you are on the field. But if you are sitting in an air-conditioned room and if you have the luxury of seeing the replays, as an umpire you may perhaps take an extra minute to press the right button.”
"We have different emotions going through and you are happy a batsman has got out. After two seconds you are told he's pressed the wrong button. It's not really a joke, if you are sitting in an air-conditioned room, you got to make sure you press the right button.
"He just committed a mistake, but what I would like to see, I got out in West Indies when an entirely different ball was shown, I could have been called back. If they are consistent I don't have any issue."
Dhoni said the attitude towards fielding still remains the same in India.
"In India, even when we play first class cricket, fielding was always "Khattna" (just to somehow go through it) and bowling and batting was fun. Cricket has now changed.
"People often talk about only one run but it changes the strike and if the next batsman strikes a six or a four, it makes huge difference. If you see earlier game, 2-3 run outs really made a big impact."
Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina, for all their talents, haven't really put consistent runs on the board in the triangular series so far.
"When it comes to talent, we have a lot of talent. (But) it has to reflect it. It's important when you are going through a tough phase, you keep scoring runs," said Dhoni.
India didn't field all that well today and their bowling also crumbled in the final 10 overs, which Dhoni put it down to cramps due to extreme heat.
"This is the best fielding side we have got, there were a few catches which were dropped, but it happens in cricket. It was a phase we dropped a few catches, hopefully we wouldn't do in whatever games we are left to play.”
"In the last 10 overs, bowlers felt the heat right from the second powerplay. When you see your best fast bowler battling through cramps, that was the reason I bowled Zaheer through. I didn't want to lose any overs from him and kept Vinay Kumar for the last few overs. He also felt the cramps.
"The last 10 overs they batted really well, our bowlers were not able to execute the way they could have if they were not battling cramps or the heat. It was hot out there. You are supposed to go through that phase but I felt they found it difficult.”
The absence of breeze only added to the woes.
"It's not that everybody wasn't hydrated. But there was no breeze here and it becomes very hot. Once you put pressure on fielders, they have to put it on their body, not let batsmen score doubles off them. It's very demanding and we see fielders get cramps.
"Like Rahul bhai (Rahul Dravid) used to sweat more than others. If you are someone like that, it becomes difficult to hydrate."
It was also noticeable that Dhoni didn't use Ravinder Jadeja at all during Australia's innings.
"I didn't want to bowl Jadeja when the left-handers were there. If you see (Matthew) Wade was settled once (David) Warner got out. I thought I was better off using an off-spinner and Raina bowled really well.
"Then Hussey came in and got settled. I was happy to bowl through Raina. There was no real reason to bowl Jadeja through just because he is there.
"If there was one more right-hander, I might have used him."
Dhoni and Brett Lee had quite a few exchanges in the middle during India's innings but Dhoni refused to reveal them.
"It's between two men. I don't know whether Brett Lee would tell you or not but it's definitely not coming out of me."
Dhoni backed Suresh Raina to stick to number six which he described as a difficult position.
"If I need number six, Raina is someone who suits the slot more than Rohit because he has more experience at that number. Its difficult to perform and someone who has played there should be given that extra liberty because he knows how to play at number six."
The Indian skipper said it was important that not only India wins the tournament but also youngsters get enough exposure.
"It should be both. You want to do well. You can always say opposition played well but at the end of the day you feel bad if you are not winning.”
"We would like to get a bit of both, we need to get into the finals first. Then it's a three-match series.”
"The youngsters would be coming here again and again, may be for the next World Cup also. They also need to know how to play in these conditions against an attack which is world class."
Dhoni also explained the continued absence of Virender Sehwag because of his back spasm.
"He wasn't available today. I don't know how he turns up tomorrow, hopefully he would be fit."