Dhoni backing for Jadeja, Rohit

Dhoni backing for Jadeja, Rohit

“If you see Jadeja’s bowling in the past one and a half years, he has had a few bad games but he has bowled really well in a majority of those games,” the Indian captain said.

“His batting has dipped but if he can contribute with the bat too, then he is literally our fifth bowler, unless we can find an all-rounder who can bowl 10 overs.

“It’s a tricky situation for Rohit, he is always in and out of the side. There’s pressure when you are in and out of the side, especially on tracks like these. He didn’t get the umpire’s decision in his favour once, and I don’t think two innings is good enough to decide whether a player is good or not. He is working hard, his fitness has improved. We are just hoping he comes up and scores some big runs.”

Taking offence on being informed that former Pakistan great Wasim Akram had called the young Indians ‘softies’ and ‘spoilt’, Dhoni retorted, “For me, what’s important is how the team is shaping up. They have done really well in adverse and difficult conditions, be it in Australia or the World T20 or even the Asia Cup when again, we did well with youngsters. I don’t think you should be clever enough to make a statement based on three or four games. It’s the overall picture that you set. The guys are courageous enough to go through any situation thrown at them. We are on the back foot right now, but these are the boys who will ultimately be an integral part of the Indian team.”

Not unaware of the magnitude of the task that awaits his team in Wednesday’s must-win showdown against New Zealand, Dhoni noted, “It’s a virtual semifinal. The preparation has been very good, hopefully the execution will also be good tomorrow.”

The conditions have got the better of the batsmen, but Dhoni insisted they were not insurmountable. “Two or three days between matches is enough time to work on technicalities, but, it’s more about the mindset,” he offered.

“In one-day cricket, you’re so used to going after and hitting the bowlers right from the first delivery -- give respect to the bowlers for the first 10 overs, and the next 40 overs is yours. This is one of those venues where you have to prolong the respect for bowlers by another 10 overs. If you don’t lose too many wickets for 20 overs, you can really dictate to the bowlers.”

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