Dhoni welcomes decision to rest bowlers for ODIs

Ahead of the One-Day International series against New Zealand, India's captain M.S. Dhoni announced his approval to the decision to rest its main bowlers bowlers and test the bench strength for the upcoming matches, keeping in mind a non-stop schedule.

M.S. Dhoni (left): "There is more interaction on the field [with Virat Kohli] because two individuals will conduct matters in different ways."   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

M.S. Dhoni loves cryptic talk. The Indian captain in the shorter formats is well-known for making inscrutable statements that may or may not answer the questions being asked. His interaction with the press ahead of the first ODI against New Zealand, however, was remarkably clear and precise.

>Read: India, NZ to resume joust on clean slate as ODIs beckon

Dhoni repeatedly stressed on testing new players and giving them an opportunity but admitted it was not easy in the Indian context. He insisted there was little time ahead of the Champions Trophy next year before adding there were quite a few individuals he saw as possible replacements for himself as a finisher, without divulging names. He also spoke of including Virat Kohli a lot more in decision-making, accepting that he could go wrong as well but that a leader must be able to take responsibilities.

“We are playing 13 Tests in India this season so you have to look at the long-term schedule. There is no long break in the middle and with pressure on bowlers so I think it's a good decision to rest them. We also have an opportunity to see new players and to some extent see the bench strength. I feel the difference in our domestic cricket and international level is quite big. Unless given a chance it is very difficult to see how they do at top level. We are playing only eight ODIs before Champions Trophy so whatever we have in our mind we can do in these games,” Dhoni said on resting key players like R. Ashwin.

Listen to Mahendra Singh Dhoni's interaction with the media
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But with the team management and the selectors naming 40 different players in the last one and half year even as the core of 11-12 remains static, he admitted it wasn't easy for new players to break through. “India is all about winning. Let's be frank - when the media talks about the team it also wants the team to win. At the end of the day, it's very difficult to get chances because we have to win games and then also look at the process. So we try our best to do what is in favour of the result and the team at the same time.

“If we rest a Virat or Rahane for a couple of games, you will wonder, 'what is happening, why are they given rest?' So whatever opportunity has been given, the players have to make the most of it. A bulk of those 40 players would have gone to Zimbabwe, then there are a few injuries. It is not a realistic number but at the same time there are a few slots we are definitely looking forward for, and we are keen to see what a few individuals have to offer,” he explained.

'More interaction with Kohli on the field'

As for his equations with Kohli, Dhoni was equally forthcoming. “There is more interaction on the field because two individuals will conduct matters in different ways. During the course of a game, practical information is very important about what is to be done. If I am not on the same page then I explain why it may work a certain way and if my decision doesn't work it gives me also a fresh view at the other suggestions,” he said.

But while captain Dhoni is willing to share the responsibility, the search is still on for a replacement for finisher Dhoni.

“Usually once you find a good finisher, they are the ones who will be batting at that slot for may be 8-10 years. You have to get used to the role and responsibility over a period of time, not just six months or one year. I feel a finisher is someone who bats at No.s 5, 6, 7 and there are not too many opportunities to score big at that level in India if the top order is doing the bulk of scoring. It's very difficult, we have identified a few but won't name them to avoid any undue pressure on individuals in that slot,” he signed off.

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