Perth: A regular saviour under tough circumstances for the Indian cricket team, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni says he also feels the pressure like others but manages the rescue acts as he knows how to get out of potentially dangerous situations.
Dhoni’s unbeaten 45 was the cornerstone of India’s patchy four-wicket win against the West Indies in a World Cup Pool B match at the WACA on Friday.
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“Everyone thinks, I don’t feel any pressure. I feel the same pressure as anyone else. It’s just that I have been in those situations a lot, so I know how to get out of that situation. But it’s not that I will always succeed. But when you know ways to wriggle out, it becomes easier,” the skipper was at his pragmatic best as he spoke to the media in what was his longest interaction in recent times.
For someone who announced his arrival at the big stage as a ‘Slam Bang Dasher’, Dhoni has improvised his game a lot in the last decade and is now an acclaimed finisher in limited overs cricket.
“My batting, I have tuned it up a lot after the 2006 tour of Pakistan. I have consistently batted lower down after that. My slot was after 30 overs. I had to improvise according to the demands. There were times when we were batting first and I went for the big shots. Again while chasing, I had the job to hit out or stabilize,” he said.
“I have never batted with a rigid mindset. I have always batted according to the demands of the team and the corresponding situations. Because of that, I have benefitted. Very satisfying, so long as the team wins, it is all good,” Dhoni added.
Dhoni, after a long time, at length dissected his own game and explained the tricky situation that the team was in on Friday, once the top-order flopped in totality.
“It was good for us that the lower middle-order got a chance to bat because you want to keep scoring runs. Whatever be the opportunities, you always feel a few more runs are better. It was a good opportunity as there was a bit of pressure. The number at which I bat, obviously, there is pressure. It was a realistic scenario, I had to have partnerships with the lower order,” Dhoni said.
“I had a partnership with Ashwin. The result was good. The good thing is at No 6 and 7, there are basically two specific roles- either just get-out and start swinging your bat as the top-order has given you a good platform or else the top-order is out, so play a holding game,” Dhoni reiterated himself.
“In both instances, there is pressure because making runs is difficult. We have to accept that the side boundaries are big and not easy to hit sixes as there is pace off the pitch. So what we have to do is to manoeuvre the ball, use the pace, pick up the gaps and take the twos or play innovative shots,” Dhoni explained.
The good thing according to Dhoni is that now all the top-seven batsmen have got a decent hit in the middle. “Hopefully, in future, if we keep getting opportunities in the remaining matches, then by the time the quarterfinals start, your top seven will have got some time throughout the tournament. It is very tough to hit out from ball one and it is very difficult even for me, I don’t really like it. But somebody has to do it so that the others can bat in their perfect slots,” he said.
Dhoni also gave a peek into how his mind works when he bats with tail-enders. “If I am batting, then I try and give them as much information as possible. Let them know what I think what the opposition bowler is doing. Whether the ball is reversing and things like that. You give them confidence and tell them stuff like it doesn’t look as fast as one finds it from outside. Because once you go inside, you know the realistic pace, the bounce,’ he said.
“If you pass on information like these to people for whom batting is not strength, they feel comfortable and after sometime, they start rotating the strike. Our No. 9, 10 and 11 can bat a bit and it is very important when they get batting. They might need to score eight runs off the last over in a knock-out game, so better to be prepared,” the skipper concluded.