India's middle-order collapses with batsmen playing loose shots to see visitors lose fourth ODI by 25 runs. Dhoni rues Jadeja's lack of communication with junior teammates
Canberra: Virat Kohli's face told the story. It was of disappointment but more than that, it was of a man who knew the fate of his lower order. Kohli was the third man to be dismissed in the space of one run. India had gone from 277 for one, requiring 72 runs to win from 75 balls with nine wickets in hand to all of a sudden requiring 71 runs from 65 balls with six wickets in hand. There were no finishers left.
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Virat Kohli works his way to a fine century at the Manuka Oval in Canberra yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
The closest India had was Ravindra Jadeja, but he could only watch as he saw his lower order perished to some deplorable batting. It was brainless and careless. They are inexperienced but they had been selected for dedicated roles.
Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Rishi Dhawan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar have played enough cricket to know it was mandatory to rotate the strike with the more experienced Jadeja. Instead of discussing strategy with the senior partner, they chose their own path.
Calm minds needed
The run chase needed calm minds, not wild slogs and Jadeja should have been drilling that into their minds.
The ball before his dismissal, Mann had played a lovely lofted shot over mid-off from the first ball of the over. The pressure was back on Nathan Lyon, but instead of trying to nudge a single, he attempted a wild slog. In a recent interview, Mann had revealed that he idolises Dhoni and wanted to bat like his captain. Perhaps it is time for him to watch Dhoni's video clips or have a chat with the captain with the limited time he may have in the Indian dressing room.
MS Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja. Pic/ AFP
Rishi Dhawan's inclusion has always been debatable. For a man who has played in the pressure of Indian Premier League semi-finals, he clearly looked like a man who simply didn't want to be in that situation. Once again, it should have been left to Jadeja to calm the nerves and discuss strategy. But once again, there was no talking. Dhawan played in his own way and like Mann, perished to an abysmal shot.
The scorecard show Jadeja as unbeaten in the end. He had the right idea of trying to take the match deep into the innings. He had learnt that art by batting with Dhoni on numerous occasions, but he had forgotten about the numerous conversations Dhoni has had with him during that period.
Dhoni mentioned at the post-match interaction that it's something Jadeja needs to work on: "He needs to communicate a bit… that is something he needs to learn. It is just not about himself, it is also about how to guide the batsmen."
Sooner or later Dhoni is likely to call it quits. India will need a level headed finisher. Jadeja is the most experienced of the lot and while he will never be able to finish like Dhoni with the bat, he can guide the others with his tongue. The learning curve continues, but for how long?
Yesterday was an ideal opportunity for the next generation to shine, but unfortunately they failed miserably.
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