Bangar defends Dhawan

Bangar defends Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan

Since the start of the West Indies series last October, opener Shikhar Dhawan has hit a rough patch. While he had a decent New Zealand series where he scored two half-centuries, his returns since October has not been great at all.

A key component of the World Cup-bound team, Dhawan averages just 25.13 in his last 16 ODI innings where he has been dismissed for single-digit scores in six innings. Batting coach Sanjay Bangar, speaking to the media after the third ODI, chose not to dwell too much into the left-hander's slump which has come at a wrong time for the Indians.

“In New Zealand series, he had two good innings and whatever target we had to get, he remained not out in one of them scoring 75 odd and got 66 in another innings. Even if you see here, he has got good starts. In the previous game, he was batting really well till he erred in shot selection, but in our point of view, he has been an important player and we know that he if gets going, he can give us that solidity as it is vital to have that right-left combination going. He is a hugely valuable player for us and he is expected to come good very soon,” said Bangar.

Ambati Rayudu’s form also has been a worry. In the three matches this series, the Hyderabadi has posted 13, 18 and 2, failing to cash on wonderful chances. “These games are valuable opportunities for all players concerned and even for us so that the players are at their utmost best when we go into the World Cup. Don’t forget that in the last game in NZ, he scored a match-winning 90, so today’s ball that he got, could have gotten out any batsmen with that pace and low bounce. Players are expected to take chances and that’s what we are expecting of every player.”

India have very little time to right the wrongs as the fourth match is on Sunday followed by the last game on Wednesday. Bangar felt such short turnarounds are a blessing in disguise.

“At times, actually its good that there is a very small turnaround between matches because if there is too many gaps then players have that much more time to think. The best for any player is to get back into action and give it another shot. In fact I’m very pleased that the next game is on the day after tomorrow.”

When asked if the team is heavily reliant on Virat Kohli, Bangar felt it’s a very harsh assessment. “At various junctures, various players chipped in. In Adelaide, we had 300 to chase, (MS) Dhoni chipped in and helped Virat chase that score and even DK (Dinesh Karthik) contributed in that match. Even if you see the first match of this series, Kedar Jadhav and MS Dhoni contributed, so its not that we are over-reliant on one particular individual but the thing is that the level that Virat has raised his game to, the performances of other players don’t seem to be that special since what he has been doing.”