Cricket

Memorable win, we learnt from 2011 tour: Dhoni

M.S. Dhoni plays a shot during the Lord's ground in London. India won the match by 95 runs and leads the series 1-0.

M.S. Dhoni plays a shot during the Lord's ground in London. India won the match by 95 runs and leads the series 1-0.  

A young Indian team has twice hovered close to an overseas victory in the past eight months — at Johannesburg and Wellington. And twice its efforts were thwarted and M.S. Dhoni’s men had to settle for a draw.

Finally when a much awaited triumph was gloriously etched at Lord’s, the skipper was a happy man and he termed it as a ‘reward for hard work.’

“It was a Test where there was pressure on us. We lost the toss, had to bat and I thought the openers and the top-order did their job and then in their first innings Bhuvi (Bhuvneshwar Kumar) bowled well and in the second innings, Ishant (Sharma) did well,” said Dhoni. The skipper also praised the efforts of Ajinkya Rahane, Murali Vijay and Ravindra Jadeja.

And then a chilling reality sunk in as Dhoni hinted at the inevitable curtains closing in on his career. “It will be my last Test match at Lord’s. I don’t see myself coming again and I don’t know when we will play here. It feels good to win Test matches outside India,” he said.

Probed about Ishant’s short-pitched mode of attack, Dhoni revealed that the speedster was initially reluctant to adopt the ploy. “It was difficult to convince him and then I set a field where he is forced to bowl short. Once he got Moeen’s (Ali) wicket, he was eager to try that line.

“He is not shy of bowling long spells. He gives his 100 per cent and there is no reason why he shouldn’t try this line. This will add to his armoury. I mean, it is counted as a Test wicket. It is not that you should get wickets only through snicks and edges,” the Indian skipper said.

Elaborating upon India’s new-found reliance upon the bouncer, Dhoni said Ishant is the best-qualified among his fast bowlers, for this task. “He has the height to get that particular bounce. Now I cannot ask Bhuvi to bowl this way because he is a swing bowler. Actually Mohammed Shami too can do this, he can be quick but he doesn’t get the bounce that Ishant does.

“Say if I was a Mitchell Johnson, then I wouldn’t care and I will keep bouncing but I am not. I had to convince my bowlers. In fact Ishant for instance wasn’t ready to bowl around the wicket too as he felt it will affect his line but I had to convince him. His bowling was very good,” Dhoni said.

The skipper said that the team stepped in with an open mind on the final day. “We knew with just around 200 runs to get, there would be one winner but who the winner will be, we weren’t certain,” Dhoni said and added that this first victory for an almost new team compared to the one that he led in 2011, will improve his squad’s confidence.

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Printable version | Mar 31, 2020 10:56:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/memorable-win-we-learnt-from-2011-tour-dhoni/article6234488.ece

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