India have retained their squad of 15 for the remaining four ODIs in the on-going series against Australia. It was widely speculated that some changes would be made to the squad, particularly in the bowling department, after India had conceded over 300 runs in each of the three games of the series thus far.
Ishant Sharma in particular had come in for criticism after he conceded a 30-run over to James Faulkner to give Australia an unlikely win in Mohali last night. India are down 1-2 in the series.
Captain MS Dhoni, whose sensational 139 not out set India up for an unlikely win in Mohali, had a dejecting end to the game with Australia stealing the 44 runs needed in the final three overs.
Along with Ishant, R. Vinay Kumar too has fared poorly in the series. While Ishant's cumulative figures for the series read 24-2-189-2. Vinay has been none better, with 26.3-191-5. Economy-wise, India's top bowlers in the series have been Ravindra Jadeja (30-0-138-2) and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar (27-3-145-1).
In the final 10 overs of these three games, India have conceded 80 runs in the first, 122 in the second and 95 in the third. The facets that stood out in the defeat in Mohali were lack of control and a near-total absence of yorkers.
Dhoni couldn't say why there were few yorkers. He said, “Practice makes you perfect, when you are bowling in nets, there is no real pressure on you. That's why I say that if you are hitting 15 sixes in half an hour in the nets, you may hit 3-4 in the match situation."
“We are practicing hard, it’s just a matter of time we get better and better and start executing in the game when there is real pressure.”
DHONI DEFENDS ISHANT
Later, Dhoni defended his choice to bowl Ishant. While he admitted that bowling in the end overs remains a concern, he was dead against large changes to the team.
“Well, then the option was that even I could have bowled. You have to see what all options are available to you. Vinay Kumar had also bowled, he had also gone for some runs. I thought let’s see by having a change,” Dhoni said defending his ploy to bowl Ishant in the 48th over.
“If Ishant bowls, then I will have the option of bowling Vinay from other end if he does not bowl well. However, it’s always easy after seeing result to say what should have been or not been done,” the Indian captain explained.
“I will talk to selectors if it concerns selection. There are some batsmen who have not made runs, there are bowlers who have gone for runs. All of a sudden when you lose one or two matches you want the playing eleven bowlers to be removed."
“They are part of the side, because they are talented and let’s back them. The bowlers who are waiting in wings, they can wait a bit more. Once somebody goes out of the side, tendency is that they are forgotten, they keep talking about new bowler. I always feel that people who are in the side should be given the rope, does not matter if he is a bowler or a batsman.”
The squad: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Vinay Kumar, Amit Mishra, Ambati Rayudu, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat
Fixtures: Ranchi, Cuttack, Nagpur, Bangalore