Chennai Super Kings captain MS Dhoni on Saturday had a word of advice for young Sri Lankan pacer Matheesha Pathirana: don’t even get close to red-ball cricket.
Referred to as Baby Malinga, as he has modelled his bowling action on the Lankan great, the 20-year pacer with sling arm action won the man of the match award after returning excellent figures of 3/15 in CSK’s six-wicket win over Mumbai Indians here.
Dhoni kept the bowler’s sling action, which could be prone to injuries, in mind as he cautioned Pathirana and also the Sri Lankan cricket administrators against playing him in all formats of the game.
“People who don’t have any clean action, batters have a difficult time picking it. But his consistency, pace makes him special,” Dhoni said at the post-match presentation.
“I feel he should not play red-ball cricket, not even get close to it, he can play only ICC tournaments. He is young and he would be a great asset for Sri Lankan cricket. Last time he came, he was lean but now he has put on muscle and is stronger.”
Dhoni opted to bowl first after winning the toss. He revealed he had wanted to bat first, but was outnumbered in the team meeting.
“I was doubtful with the decision at the toss, I wanted to bat first but the think tank thought about the rain, I was slightly outnumbered and so we went with the majority.
“If there is some kind of a confusion then we sit and talk about it. I felt the wicket will slow down and that was the reason behind it, and even if rain comes then the majority of the game would have been done,” he said.
Dhoni said it was a crucial win as it gives them some cushion.
“It was a very crucial game for a simple reason if you see the points table there’s a muddle. Last few games the results have not gone in our favour and so it is good to be on the winning side.”
Put in to bat, Rohit Sharma’s MI were restricted to a below-par 139 for eight in their allotted 20 overs, and then saw CSK chase down the target of 140 in 17.4 overs.
Asked what went wrong in the game, Rohit said, “Everywhere I guess, we didn’t bat well enough, didn’t put enough runs for the bowlers to defend. We had an off-day as a batting unit.”
On him going in at number three instead of opening, he said, “We just did what we felt was comfortable, needed an Indian batter to bat in the middle overs against spin after unfortunately losing Tilak Varma, but we lost three wickets for just 16 runs.
“There’s no such home advantage this season, everyone has won and lost at home, we need to do well in all the three departments of the game, we’ll play at home in the next two games, we’ll see how it goes,” Rohit added.
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