The Telegraph
Monday , March 31 , 2014
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Dhoni heaps praise on Yuvi

Calcutta/Dhaka: Mahendra Singh Dhoni is hoping the Indians have peaked at the right time.

“I hope so. We are doing well, we have bowled really well in the tournament but still, as I said, on that particular day you have to bowl well and bat well,” the Team India captain said on Sunday.

“It’s a very short format, every couple of overs that you bowl can actually change the entire course of the game. So you have to see at which pace the game is and all those things ... It’s not very easy to judge a T20 and you have to be in the mix of the game on that particular day. So I think it will be interesting in the coming games… I hope the better teams consistently win the games.”

The captain was all praise for Yuvraj Singh.

“When I went in, I was the new batsman, so obviously Yuvi gave me the feedback of what’s happening… Who is looking to bowl what, how the ball is coming on to the bat, at what pace and everything. So we knew that partnership was very important... But I always prefer that your main batsmen should score runs...

“And also we knew when the wicket is on the slower side, what the par score was. That’s what we banked upon. We said let’s play a few overs and then we targeted a few bowlers. We got quite a few surplus runs in those two or three overs. It was quite calm out there, but I felt Yuvi paced his innings brilliantly.

“And the best part was an innings like this was needed for him, where he can be expressive and where he can be himself. It was an ideal opportunity today. He went in, played a few deliveries and expressed himself.

“We all know the kind of batsman he is, he can clear any ground in the world and doesn’t matter whether it’s a fast bowler bowling or a spinner bowling. He may struggle for the first 5-7 deliveries. Your good luck if you get him out, otherwise he will take you out of the game.”

Dhoni said he wanted to bat first in this game. “We wanted to bat first in this game. Once we lost the toss it wasn’t really in our control. Overall very happy that we were able to bat first and set the target.

“The middle order was tested. After we lost a couple of wickets, the ball wasn’t really coming off the wicket, so it was slightly difficult for the batsmen to freely rotate.

“In the middle overs, Yuvraj batted really well. He gave himself time, it was an ideal opportunity for him to see through the initial 10-15 deliveries and we all know the kind of batting line-up we have. That’s a big positive for us. It looks good as of now, hopefully we won’t have any injuries before the semis.”

Dhoni felt the T20 format had become more intense. “In 2007, we did what we thought was the right to the extent we used to practice bowl-outs. It was more fun. We ended up having a bowl-out. Nothing much changes. It was a new format. T20 was not taken seriously those days…

“Now it is more intense. You don’t see people enjoying it. They want to win, they want to try shots that nobody has heard so far. It has changed a lot. Yes, I have changed a lot. Now when I look in the mirror, I see a lot of grey beard. That’s a blessing.”

Man of the Match Ravichandran Ashwin also credited the batsmen. “Not a bad wicket to bowl on. The credit must go to the batsmen.

“They way they batted was brilliant. I thought 159 was just about a par score on this wicket. And the way we have been bowling, we were confident of pulling it off.”

Yuvraj said he was always focused on his work. “I do not really concentrate on what is going on outside the field. I have four Man of the Match awards in the last six T20 Internationals that I played.

My form hasn’t been that great in the one-day format, but it has been good in the T20 Internationals. I am working hard on the bowling as well.