“Where are the British journalists? Call them for the press conference now. They are usually there to add spice…” was how Mahendra Singh Dhoni chose to make a point in jest as he met mediapersons after the fourth One-day International against England here on Wednesday.
The skipper looked relaxed, relieved and in a mood to rejoice for more reasons than one. With Rohit Sharma taking up the challenge of opening the innings and Suresh Raina excelling as a finisher, Dhoni appeared pleased with the latest gains from the series-deciding triumph.
Dhoni, who became the second most successful India captain in ODIs following his 77th victory — next only to Mohammad Azharuddin’s 90 — praised the two gifted performers.
“I am very happy for Rohit. We all know he is a god-gifted talent. We had a discussion a few days ago and I am happy he took the challenge (of opening the innings). I think he can be a good opener because he cuts and pulls really well. Also, it is good to have one opener slightly more aggressive than the other,” said Dhoni.
“It is important to give some players a bit of rope, another chance, since we do not play too many ODIs after this series. Rohit went through a lean patch in Sri Lanka. At present, he cannot get into the squad in the middle-order. So this was the only opportunity for him to play for India.”
Talking of Raina, Dhoni said, “he has been groomed for this job, to bat at 5-6-7 and show his game-finishing talent. But he has to curb his instincts (to play his shots) in the interest of the team. We are looking at chances for him to bat slightly up the order.””
On England scoring 100 runs in the last 10 overs, Dhoni said, “Some of our bowlers do not have much international experience. Ishant Sharma has been bowling five to seven overs very well but has gone for a few runs in the end. I am very happy with him.”
Man-of-the-Match Raina said, “I told Rohit to be positive and we had a tremendous partnership. Today, I got some chances and I stayed till the end.
“I remember Sachin (Tendulkar) telling us that we have to be No. 1 in fielding, and today we fielded really well.”
Alastair Cook thought the toss played a part. “It was a good toss to win, you saw throughout the first 30-40 overs, it nipped around for the seamers and as the dew came it kind of skidded on a bit more.
“We thought we were in the game, needed a couple of early wickets but I thought the partnership between Raina and Rohit Sharma was crucial, when he came in they needed six runs an over but they got going really quickly.”