Dhoni gives credit to positive approach

Sunday, February 15, 2015
Indian cricket team captain - MS Dhoni
[PHOTO: Blnguyen/CC BY-SA 3.0
Adelaide: Full transcript of MS Dhoni's presser after beating Pakistan by 76 runs in the ICC Cricket World Cup match played at Adelaide Oval on Sunday:

Q. MS, Kohli had the century today, but could you talk a bit about Raina's innings and his approach to the game today?
MS DHONI: I think the role that's assigned to him, I think in this game he did it perfectly well. He was provided with a platform where he could go in and be a bit more expressive. What we really liked was he took a few deliveries initially and then went on to play the big shots. In fact he was more calculated in his innings, and he picked his areas where he wanted to hit. He read the bowlers well as to where they wanted to bowl. He put pressure, and that's what it's all about. If you can put pressure on the bowlers, you'll push them to commit more mistakes of bowling where they don't want to bowl, so overall, including the other batsmen, I think his innings was also special.

Q. This victory, how much of a boost will it be for the continuation, because you were under pressure, so all these things will change, and now it will be a positive approach towards the next match.
MS DHONI: Hey, our approach was always positive. The result was not in our favor. That's something that's really beyond our control. There were quite a few areas where we had to improve both in the bowling and the batting department. In fact in this game it clicked together. It's something that you have to do in tournaments like this. You have to be at your best, and I felt today was one game which was to a lot of extent a very complete game for all of us, but still, we can improve. There are still areas where we need to improve, in the first five overs. In quite a few games that we have played so far, we have given too many boundary deliveries, and that's where you have to actually put more pressure on the batsmen. You have to make use of the new ball. If they are taking risk and playing the big shots and if they are successful, that's fair enough, but you don't want to give boundary opportunities in the first four or five overs because five overs if they are close to 30 runs, you are putting pressure on yourselves.

Q. Could you please summarize the Indian innings for us because I think they bowled well at the start and towards the end, but the batting dominated in the middle overs.
MS DHONI: I personally felt after playing a few games over here, I've realized it's not really easy to play in the afternoon, especially with the new ball. There's a bit of pace to deal with initially, and it does a bit of the seam, but as the game progresses it gets better and better, and in the second half actually there's not too much of swing. I felt the pace gets slightly better, it comes on nicely, there's a bit more bounce, but overall the swing actually disappears to a lot of extent. I felt after we lost Rohit, the partnership with Virat and Shikhar was really crucial because the ball was doing a bit. If you see the Pakistan team, their strength is as of now fastbowling, and I felt they bowled really well. Once the partnership was going, after that, once we got the start, I think we played some really good shots to put the pressure back on the bowlers, and once we had good partnership and with wickets in hand and with players like Raina who were about to come in, I felt we did really good to get 300 runs on the board.

Q. Some of the players are not doing well, and we talked about bowlers before this game, that they're not doing well, and Shikhar was not doing well. What do you think worked for them? Was it the challenge before them, big match challenge that worked for all the team members?
MS DHONI: I think it's a mix of everything. Again, I personally feel the eight‑ to ten‑day break that we had, that also helped us a lot. Everybody went off and did their respective things and then we came back, and you can use it in a way to say, okay, let's divide this whole tour into two tournaments, like first the test matches and the Tri‑Series, and then you break and you say, okay, the World Cup is a fresh start for us. I felt that was something that we managed really well. As I said, the morale of the team was good, though the results were not in our favor. We knew we have showed that in flashes that a few of the batsmen have batted well, a few times the bowlers have bowled better, but it was important for us to do that as a team, and this was one game where we did that. In the Afghanistan game, also, we showed improvement and we were quite consistent. This game was a fantastic game for us as far as the bowling, batting, and the fielding department is concerned, but this can be a benchmark in the coming games. We'll be playing tougher sides, and hopefully we'll be able to replicate the performances.

Q. You looked good for 320 or 330, but 300 was still a huge total, especially in an India‑Pakistan World Cup match. How much pressure do you think that weight of runs exerted on Pakistan?
MS DHONI: It's difficult to say, the reason being in wickets like these at times what we have seen is if you have a partnership going, if you have wickets in hand, and if somebody starts to middle the deliveries, it becomes quite hard to contain the batsmen. Most of the teams what they are doing is they are just bowling back of the length and asking the batsmen to clear the boundaries, and irrespective of how good batsman you are, that's one strategy that almost all the teams have deployed, and it is working. But we'll have to see. You know, in some games you'll see somebody really middling the shots, and if it goes outside the boundary, then they'll have to fall back to their other plan of bowling yorkers and everything. But as far as the tournament is concerned, so far that's a strategy that has been working, and most of the teams are falling for that. We'll have to wait and watch because we have seen it becomes difficult to contain because of the pace of the wicket and also with that extra fielder inside. A lot of times you feel, okay, where to really bowl so we can contain the batsmen.

Q. You used short bursts today. What was the plan behind it, and what will exactly be Mohit's role as a third seamer? What do you expect as a captain?
MS DHONI: You know, frankly we misplayed a bit. That was a reason to stop him in the first five overs. I wanted him to use the new ball well, which I felt he didn't to an extent, but he always has pace so I gave him a break over there, brought in Mohit, and so far Mohit has been really consistent with his line and length, which I feel is the key for him. He has that variation of pace. He uses the bounce so well. So so far he has proved himself. He's not someone who gets a lot of bounce, but he's quite consistent with his line and length, and I felt if he bowled well with the new ball, if we get more wickets with the new ball, we can put pressure because what we are doing right now is every day we have to see, okay, today who's bowling well, and accordingly. It's not like you have a fixed role assigned for everyone. Every time you have to see, okay, today this guy is bowling really well, how to use him, how to use spinners in a specific way, because if you see if you compare how we have been using spinners and how we are using fastbowlers in the middle overs, it's entirely different to how we have done so far. I feel a lot of improvisation is going on because this is the best that we have got, and we have to improvise and use it in the best possible manner.

Q. How difficult was your role as a captain following a disappointing series in Australia, such a high voltage match, and expectedly, how do you explain India's record against Pakistan in the World Cup?
MS DHONI: Well, the record is good, but it's something that I don't want to get into because there will come a time when we will lose, irrespective of whether it happens this World Cup, next World Cup or four World Cups down the line. It's not something that will stay until the world exists. No point in really thinking about it. Yes, we are proud of the fact that we have done it, but if you just see the stats, India‑Pakistan stats, you know we are way behind when it comes to that. They have really dominated. I feel definitely World Cup is something that we can, to some extent, be proud of, but overall you have to see, they are a fantastic side. They don't have the kind of players that they had, but still, if you see from a talent point, they've got good fastbowlers. I feel their strength was allrounders. They were still getting allrounders like Abdul Razzaq and all, but they don't have it, so they don't have the luxury. Again, they have to go in with three‑two combination, and if you don't really have a seamer for allrounder, it actually affects the composition of the side. All in all, they are a fantastic side. As far as the World Cup record is concerned, we are definitely proud of it, but it will be broken at some point of time.

Q. Was that the objective?
MS DHONI: Well, that's really the job of the leader. Again, what we wanted to do from a management point of view was to keep the morale high, the dressing room atmosphere. It is very crucial because if the morale is down then it becomes more difficult to come back. Everybody is smiling, and even going through a lot of difficulties and problems, even if you have the genuine smile on your face, and if you turn up every day to improve yourself as a cricketer, you know the result will follow. It may be one game, it may be a tournament, but it's not the end of the world, and that's how I feel any sport needs to be taken. At times we tried to give too much importance to Test series that we play outside India or tri‑nation or a bilateral outside the country. I feel all of them are the same. We should be proud of winning at home, and we should try to win outside, also. There should not be any demarcation as to, okay, he has got a century, but he has to score there. So there's no need to just add but, and that actually adds pressure onto the youngsters because they come and they score centuries in India, but whenever they get complimented there's always a but that follows, and they say, but he has to score. We all know we need to score outside the subcontinent. It is a challenge for all of us, but it's not like every time whenever you get a compliment it's followed by but.

Q. Where do you hide your magic wand because when the team is doing very badly, people have lost their hope, and suddenly you come up and everything will be all right. The other day, they also said, don't worry, we'll come back. And you do come back. It is happening again and again. How do you hide your magic wand?
MS DHONI: I think it's the belief and trust that we have in each other. At times it takes time not to forget it's a competitive sport. We represent our country. We want to do well. But it's the same with all the other countries, also, they're representing their respective teams. At times the condition favors the other team more than it favors us. You have to accept all of that. At times you have to accept that you were beaten by an opposition that was more suited to the condition or that played better cricket on that particular day. What's very important is to have that belief and that magic wand actually is the support staff and the 15 players because irrespective of what others think, what really matters is what the guys are thinking, what 15 people who are part of the team are thinking and how the management is working. If we are moving in one direction and we are together, there are more chances of us making a strong comeback.

Q. Defending champions, first game, not great results in the Tri‑Series. How important was it for you to win and win in the manner in which you did?
MS DHONI: Well, I think winning was important to start off, because we have not won a lot of games, and Afghanistan was the only one game that we had won. Once you start thinking about all these things, you get caught up with a lot of thoughts, so what was important was to not think about the past. It's something that we will keep getting flashes, but it was important not to get entangled with these thoughts, think more about the process, what needs to be done, but ultimately what will really matter is the present. At times what we have seen is you have pressure of expectation and the burden of your own performance that you want to do. So all of that really plays a part, but I felt the guys did really well because a World Cup opening game against Pakistan, it is a high‑stake game, but at the same time we don't want to give it too much of an importance because irrespective of whether you're playing Pakistan or Australia, the games are important. You get the same number of points. Your run rate, depending on the margin you win, it's the same. I feel we try to keep it as normal as possible, and to a lot of extent we were able to do that.
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