Auckland: Mahendra Singh Dhoni has received rich praise for his captaincy so far in the World Cup but he feels it is the performance of his bowlers that makes him look like a commanding leader.
Since spinners were in operation for 30 overs against Ireland, Dhoni was asked at the post-match media conference if he is at his best as a captain when he is experimenting with his bowling options. He smiled and gave a swift reply. "No, I am best when the bowlers are bowling well," he said. He then went on to explain why it makes a captain's job easier when you have a plan.
MS Dhoni. Pic/ AFP
"It makes the job slightly easy for me because you have a plan. But unless it is executed well it can't make you look like a good captain. It all depends on execution. You may have two slips, but if the bowler bowls on the pads, it doesn't really look good. I feel that is where the remarkable difference has come from the bowlers' end. They are bowling according to the plans," said Dhoni.
In his own inimitable style which is laced with a bit of dry humour and sarcasm, Dhoni said, "You keep telling them 'bowl to one line, bowl one line' and that creates pressure. But it was more said than heard by them. But now they have seen it and they have tasted it."
"So when they come back for the Test series outside the sub-continent, they will still have the memories that outside the sub-continent a lot of time you have to stick to good lines and lengths, and that is something that rewards you. That will definitely change a lot of things for us. A lot of trouble that we have been having, that will be sorted. "Hopefully, they will retain all the things that they have learnt here," were the words of wisdom from the skipper.
Dhoni has time and again spoken about the flexibility required from him as well as his players and that is exactly was the recipe for his team's success against Ireland despite a poor start by the bowlers. "I think that is very crucial because if this was a very important game for us, maybe I would have brought in the spinners closer to the fourth over because we fell from behind. It (pitch) definitely had a bit of bounce. By bounce, I mean just gripped on to the surface and there was a bit of bounce for them. So if it was a really crucial game for us, the spinners would have come on really early," Dhoni tried to explain as to what exactly he meant by flexibility.
He further added, "But I wanted the fast bowlers to have a bit more go also, the fact that they bowled well. I thought maybe I can still use the new ball, get a few nicks if possible. But new ball was coming nicely on to the bat. So I said, let's go ahead with the fast bowlers for a bit more time and then bring on the spinners. That is what I really did. Flexibility from the bowlers' side was also there. They quite understand you. They don't question you too much," added Dhoni.