The Telegraph
Monday , March 24 , 2014
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Long way to go: Dhoni

Dhaka: After months of despair, Mahendra Singh Dhoni has got a reason to smile. The television focused on a grinning Team India captain as India took a step closer to qualifying for the World T20 semi-finals in Mirpur on Sunday.

“I am always smiling… I know cricket is a big part of our lives… Of course, you feel disappointed when you are not doing well…. But still it is a sport and there will be times when you lose,” said Dhoni later. He was happy with the bowling after openly criticising the bowlers on quite a few occasions recently.

“As far as bowling is concerned I’m really happy with the way bowlers are performing… Yes there is a bit of help for the spinners, but you have to execute your plans well. In this format, you have got some of the big hitters and so you’ll have to carefully plan out the strategy.

“I was really happy that spinners have done well along with the pacers. But there’s still a long way to go. Two more matches in the qualifying stage,” explained Dhoni.

Amit Mishra’s second consecutive Man of the Match award has satisfied Dhoni.

“It’s important that people bowl or bat according to what their strength is. I felt he was feeling a bit of nerves in the first game, which was against Pakistan. I went up to him and told him that you are known for turning the ball… You are someone who have got the variations. So just don’t keeping bowling the straighter ones…

“I told him your advantage would be to flight the ball and use that extra bit of bite… I was really comfortable with the way he bowled after that… He was still not bowling at his 100 per cent and still had nerves to overcome… I knew with the Man of the Match award his performance would get better… Today he bowled against Chris Gayle… Used the variations well… It’s important that he backs his strengths and continues using the variations.”

Dhoni also explained the decision behind opening the bowling with Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami. “You expected me to open with Ashwin… That was normal choice and if you don’t bowl Ashwin that will be a surprise. I think with the new ball Bhuvi has troubled Gayle to some extent and that was the reason for opening with him.”

Dhoni explained that the decision to give Ravindra Jadeja the final over was an attempt to find a partner for Mohammed Shami at the death. “We will face a few big hitters in the coming matches. We need one more bowler, besides Shami, at the death.”

Dhoni also reflected on the dropped catches at the boundary line, problem that many teams have faced in Mirpur. “It’s not just a problem with the Indian team… Quite a few catches have been dropped. I don’t know whether it’s the surroundings or something else…”

For Mishra, this stadium is proving to be lucky. “I am really happy… But what is more important is that I am performing well and the team is winning. I have to plan differently for different teams. Every team has its strengths and weaknesses. I am trying to figure out their weaknesses and exploit them,” he said.

Darren Sammy, on the other hand, blamed poor batting for the loss. “It’s a fact that we didn’t bat well. Our innings didn’t really kick off. We were always behind.”