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‘Jadeja showed lot of character’

Auckland: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels Ravindra Jadeja’s 45-ball unbeaten 66 in the tied one-dayer against New Zealand will help the all-rounder to develop into a more mature batsman.

“We hope that Jadeja develops into a much better and more mature batsman. The kind of talent that he has… We have seen him score plenty of runs in domestic cricket. He just needs to get his thinking right and this innings should really help him do that,” Dhoni said at the post-match media conference here.

The India captain was also all praise for Jadeja’s left-arm spin bowling. “He has been quite consistent as a bowler for us. The wickets here don’t help the spinners at all, but he was able to get the ball to turn.”

Ravichandran Ashwin also played a useful knock of 65 apart from taking the wicket of the dangerous Corey Anderson. Dhoni lauded Ashwin’s efforts. “It’s on rare occasions that you will be in a situation like this. So this game should help Jadeja and Ashwin grow as batsmen, especially Ashwin, who has been working hard on his batting and he has a lot more to offer in batting department,” Dhoni said.

The skipper sounded relieved that the visitors now have a chance to square the five-ODI series.

“The big thing for us was to stay alive in this series. This game could have gone either way from the point where we lost five wickets for 140-odd runs. We needed to work hard to win from there… We needed to show a lot of character and application… Jadeja did that. He batted really well to keep us alive in the series,” said Dhoni.

“In the end, the tie was a good one because good cricket was played and bad cricket was also played by both sides. That is the reason we are on even terms. We can’t win the series but we can hold it to a draw.”

Dhoni admitted that the performance of his bowlers was not up to the mark despite Ishant Sharma making way for Jharkhand quick Varun Aaron. “Aaron needs to play a few more games and find consistency in his line and length. Also, if he is bowling at 140-145 km/hr, he needs to bowl two bouncers every over, irrespective of where he is playing.”

Speaking about the performance of the batsmen, Dhoni said: “In the middle overs, we haven’t got the partnerships that’s really needed. With the kind of rule changes in ODIs now, you need to preserve your wickets…” Dhoni said.

Man-of-the-Match Jadeja said: “I feel very happy because I have done something for the team. I just wanted to play till the last ball, but unfortunately we didn’t cross the line, but we have learned a lot from this game,” he said. (PTI)