IMAGE: Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s slow batting against Afghanistan, during which he scored 28 off 52 balls, has come in for criticism. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s inability to rotate strike in the middle overs is cause for concern for some time now but India’s bowling coach Bharath Arun says it’s not that head coach Ravi Shastri is not speaking to the former skipper or other batsmen on how to improve.
On a Hampshire Bowl track where Dhoni struggled to 28 off 52 against Afghanistan, captain Virat Kohli was effortless during his 63-ball stay that fetched 67 runs at a strike-rate of above 100. But Arun said Dhoni should not be compared with Kohli on strike rate.
“I think Virat Kohli is probably the number one batsman across all formats, so I think to compare anybody to the way he plays is not right,” Arun said at the media interaction ahead of the West Indies game on Thursday.
Asked if Dhoni has been told about his slow batting by the team management, Arun gave a somewhat roundabout reply.
“There is a constant dialogue between all the batsmen, the support staff, the batting coach, the head coach — Ravi Shastri has a constant dialogue with all the coaches. I can’t really get into the brass tacks of what we discuss, but, yes, if I have to answer your question, there is a constant dialogue for us to improve,” the former India medium pacer said.
He said Dhoni played as per the situation in the match against Afghanistan.
“I think according to the situation and the condition of the wicket we were able to successfully defend the total that we put up. And had we probably lost a wicket at that stage (when Dhoni and Kedar Jadhav were batting), then things would have turned out differently. So I don’t think it’s too much of a concern for us right now,” Arun said.
In Manchester, India had scored a commanding 335 against Pakistan and Arun is hoping it will be the same against the West Indies on Thursday.
“If you look at our first three games, I think we put up some really big scores. And Afghanistan match, the wicket was a little sticky; it was tricky to bat under those circumstances. But I think it’s a question of adapting, understanding these conditions and adapting to that,” he reasoned.
He is confident that his seamers will be up for challenge against the hard-hitting West Indies batting line-up led by Chris Gayle.
“They do have their strengths. And also it’s a big challenge for the bowlers too — especially when they come after you. But whenever batsmen come after you, if you’re willing to look at it deeply, there is a chance in it for the bowlers, and I think that’s what our bowlers would be looking to do.”
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