Dhoni: Shifting IPL does not make any difference

"There has to be a long-term solution to this. It does not make any difference whether four or seven matches are played (in Maharashtra)," said Dhoni.

M.S. Dhoni feels there should be a long-term solution to tackle the current drought situation in Maharashtra.   -  PTI

M. S. Dhoni is inclined to think deeper into the issue of tackling drought than just the talk of shifting IPL games out of Maharashtra to save the water used in preparing cricket pitches.

“There has to be a long-term solution to this. It does not make any difference whether four or seven matches are played (in Maharashtra). The way forward is to think of ways to provide water where there is none. I have seen it all on television, water levels receding in dams.”

The India skipper in response to a question about whether he felt that staging IPL matches in Maharashtra was proper in the light of the water scarcity in parts of the state ravaged by drought said that there should be a long-term solution.

> We couldn't have had a better start to IPL — Dhoni

“For people to say whether IPL matches should be played here or not is a momentary thing. The thrust should be to move in a direction that will provide a long term solution. There should be a strong plan in that direction.”

Dhoni is the captain of Rising Pune Supergiants — a Pune-based IPL franchise. The team's schedule will be affected if its home matches are moved out of the state by the BCCI, in response to a query from the Mumbai High Court dealing with a petition over water usage for cricket.

Sporting the purple jersey

Under Dhoni’s leadership, RPS’ IPL debut kicked off on a winning note. Walking out in purple RPS colours for the first time in the IPL —a change from the Chennai Super Kings’ yellow — it was an emotional experience for the wicketkeeper-captain.

“The actual moment came when you started walking out with the team sheet in your hand. It was a very emotional moment. I have represented various teams in T20, Jharkhand in a few tournaments and CSK for eight years. Not to see myself in yellow was very emotional.”

The RPS captain continued: “At the same time as professionals we have to move ahead. Not to prove anything to anyone, but to prove a point to myself and make sure that whatever I gave to CSK and India, I was giving everything to Pune, without compromising an inch. Emotions aside, I think the faith the franchise has shown in me and the other players has to be justified.”

Making R. Ashwin bowl only an over

Among the six bowlers used to keep the Mumbai Indians batsmen in check, off-spinner R. Ashwin bowled only one over. Asked why he under-bowled an experienced hand, the captain said: “He is an accomplished bowler, he can bowl at any time and in any situation.”

Ashwin was given the ball in the 16th over. “You know that he is a mature bowler. For me, he can bowl at any point in time. There was pressure on the MI middle and lower middle order.”

> Rahane on R. Ashwin getting only one over

On M. Ashwin

“It was a very good platform for the leg-spinner (Murugan) Ashwin to come in. He was slightly under pressure. I thought it was more important to give him four overs, because in the longer run, I need him to take wickets.

“I thought that if I can make him (M. Ashwin) bowl four overs at that point in time, it would give him the confidence to come back strongly in the second game. It was a process of giving or building his confidence, at the same time attacking from one end.”

Both Ashwins bagged a wicket each. While leg-spinner Murugan gave away 16 runs in four overs, off-spinner Ravichandran’s only over cost seven runs.

The bowlers gave little away as the batsmen did their part in a morale-boosting win for RSP and Dhoni.

“Sport keeps a nation together. With so many leagues happening in different sports, the younger generation will be in a better position to achieve sporting success. Let us not restrict it to cricket, the feeling of pride when an Indian wins an Olympic medal is just the same.”