Hamilton: "Start using your brains more", Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni told his wayward bowlers after losing the ODI series to New Zealand here today.
Lashing out at the bowlers, who have been wayward through the series which India lost 0-3 with one match to go, Dhoni said: "When it comes to talent, we definitely have bowlers who can do well. But at the same time they will have to start using their brains more and improvise themselves.
"(Mohd.) Shami is someone who has been quite consistent, apart from this series. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been off this series but he's a good bowler. At the end of the day they need to push themselves because with rule changes it is going to be quite tough. But it hasn t been rule changes hurting us in this series, it has been bad bowling," Dhoni said.
MS Dhoni with Indian teammates. Pic/AGetty Images
Dhoni said that his bowlers consistently bowled short and wide right through the series and gave away too many runs.
"Frankly, our bowling was quite disappointing. This was a kind of wicket where one thing you don't want to do is to bowl short and wide. I think we consistently did that with the new ball and the older ball," Dhoni admitted.
"We often complain about the five fielders outside the circle, but when you bowl short and wide it doesn't matter. I think the fast bowlers gave away too many runs. Talking about spinners, they bowled well and hit the right areas," he added.
Dhoni was also critical of his top-order batsmen who made the same mistakes of losing wickets at crucial intervals. "We committed the same mistakes when it comes to batting. We lost wickets at crucial time, which has been the case so far in this series," he said after India lost the fourth ODI by seven wickets.
"But even then we were able to get close to 280-odd runs which I thought was good enough provided we bowled well on this wicket but that was not the case," he said.
The Indian skipper said losing wickets at the wrong time put pressure on the lower-order batsmen. "We struggled at the top. I think the last game we got some kind of start going but this time game again we struggled. Once 10 overs are gone, we lost couple of wickets," Dhoni said.
"We have to get some kind of partnership going, we did get some kind of partnership going late in the day but we lost wickets at the wrong time which means it puts pressure on the middle-order and that frustrates you because then you fail to get those extra 15-20 runs for par plus score," Dhoni noted.
When asked why he chose to take off the spinners after Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin had bowled well in their initial spells, Dhoni said: "Given the way how the fast bowlers bowled in the first ten overs, I wasn't sure they would be able to keep the pressure on later.
"So I personally thought that it's important to keep the spinners especially Jadeja and use them later, when the batsmen might have to go for the big shots.
"But the way the fast bowlers bowled in the middle overs it meant that they never really had to play those big shots. That was a crucial phase, where with the open fields we shouldn't have given away too many runs. But we were giving a boundary every over and we were not able to build any pressure," he said.
India made a couple of changes to their side ahead of this must-win game, dropping both Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina. Virat Kohli was asked to open the innings, while Ajinkya Rahane batted at number three. Ambati Rayudu played his first ODI since the Zimbabwe trip in mid-2013 and Stuart Binny made his India debut.
"We had to make these changes at some point. Raina was getting good starts but he was not able to convert those starts. Sometimes if you can take the individual away for a few games, he can relax and think freely about his game and that's the reason why we rested both Shikhar (Dhawan) and Suresh Raina in this game," Dhoni opined.
"We had a chat with Virat, and he was quite confident about opening. It allowed us to play Rahane at number three and Rayudu at number four, which allowed us to maintain the strength of our team.
"Rahane came in as an opener but a few months ago, along with the selectors, we decided that he is a good middle order batsman and he bats well there. We have tried him as opener earlier and it didn't work, so we should keep trying him in the middle order," added the Indian skipper.