Free Press Journal

‘Jumbo’ praise for MS Dhoni

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“As far as MS is concerned, he has enough experience. He has shown over the years that he has enough capabilities as a batsman. We don’t need to really look close at giving him time to settle in.”

New Delhi : There has been constant debate on whether Mahendra Singh Dhoni should bat up the order with questions being raised about his ability as a finisher but coach Anil Kumble made it clear that the veteran skipper has “enough experience” and “does not need time to settle down”.

virat-kohliAsked if Dhoni would be asked to bat up the order keeping in mind India’s Champions Trophy defence in UK next year, Kumble was quick to respond: “It all depends on match situations. While chasing you need more experience. As far as MS is concerned, he has enough experience. He has shown over the years that he has enough capabilities as a batsman.


“We don’t need to really look close at giving him time to settle in. You will probably see a different batting order depending on different situations.”

While flexibility remains key for Kumble, he did say that Manish Pandey is being looked at as a potential No. 4 due to his experience of handling pressure situations for long in domestic cricket as well as the spark that he has shown in his brief international career.

“We have a couple of options. Obviously, Manish is someone who has done really well in recent past. He started off really well in Dharamsala. It all depends on situations, may be someone else could walk up depending on whether we bat first or second. But Manish has shown a lot of promise and performance…something heartening. He has quite a bit of experience at domestic level unlike Hardik (Pandya) who is new at that level. He is certainly the No 4, we are looking into.”

Even as KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan’s injuries have opened the doors for Ajinkya Rahane at the top of the order, Kumble feels a clearer picture will emerge only after the tour of England. “I think Rahane certainly fits in at the top of the order so that is one thing we will persist with. Yes, it does give us an option once Shikhar and Rahul are fit but will only look at that when England come for the ODI’s.”

Talking about how A tours act as a synergy for the senior team where some players are expected to hone specific skills before walking into the senior team’s dressing room and Hardik Pandya’s bowling is something that the team is banking on.

“I think he (Hardik) is someone who gives us right balance because he cannot only bowl but he bowls at a pretty decent pace. It was nice that he really bowled well in his first game with the new ball. That was certainly a strategy that MS wanted Hardik to try. And it’s really heartening that he came up with the MoM award in his first game.

“So that should give him a lot of confidence. Like I mentioned, all-rounders, who can run in and bowl quick and bat are certainly an asset and he is someone we will closely monitor and see how he progresses. We will expect Hardik to give us that 7-8 or 10 overs which certainly gives us a better balance in the team,” Kumble explained.

However the coach is not ready to put pressure on Hardik, the batsman. “Someone who is just starting his international career we do not want to put pressure on him by giving him definite plans of what is expected of him. He is someone who likes the freedom and that’s exactly what we have given someone like Hardik. We don’t want to burden the younger player, who is coming in, and suggest that this is what is expected of you.

“Because the moment you start putting pressure and tell that you bowl 6 deliveries in one spot, it doesn’t work that way in international cricket. Even with his batting, he has all the freedom, doesn’t really matter what the situation is.”

For Kumble, there must have been a sense of deja vu as he entered Feroz Shah Kotla, a venue where he got his historic ‘Perfect 10’ and also bid adieu to international cricket. “I like coming to Kotla. If you are a player and performed here, then you certainly bring that confidence with you and come with the same hopes, keeping the record in mind,” said Kumble. PTI

‘None like McCullum’

New Zealand seamer Trent Boult said that it will be difficult to find a charismatic leader like Brendon McCullum while admitting that current skipper Kane Williamson is going “through pretty tough time” as a captain. Asked to compare the two, Boult gave an elaborate explanation.

“Kane is a classy player and has been ranked as a top batsman for a reason. In a way, he has had pretty tough time walking into the role of captaincy. It has been a learning experience for the whole team to be honest. The way Brendon led the team, I don’t think anyone could do it as well as he did it. He set his own tone, we all know what kind of explosive batsman, he is. But we are stacked up with lot of quality players in the side and we need all of them to stand up and put in good performance.”

Pandya gets free hand

pandya-gets-free-hand“Someone, who is just starting his international career, we don’t want to put pressure on him by giving him definite plans that this is something we expect from him. He is someone who likes the freedom and that is exactly what we have given to Hardik. We don’t want to burden the younger player who is coming in to suggest that this is what is expected this from you,” Kumble said.

 “Hardik is someone, even with his regard to bowling, all we have told him is to just go out there and bowl with freedom and don’t worry about getting hit,” he added.