By R Kaushik in Mirpur
Skipper says surfaces with purchase for spinners have suited India’s attack well in ICC World Twenty20 2014
“A good dressing room atmosphere, having belief in yourself and enjoying each other's success, you can put everything on to it,” said Dhoni, when asked what allowed the team to cut out events off the field and focus exclusively on the task at hand. “A lot of things happen around cricket but you have to be focused when you are representing your country. That is one thing this team has done really well. And of course accepting the challenges, enjoying the challenges, trying to prove that you are one of the best when it comes to international cricket. It is all about the dressing room atmosphere and we have kept it really nice.”
Once again, it was the bowlers who set up India’s victory, restricting Bangladesh to 138 for 7 from their 20 overs. “When you know the bowlers are getting some kind of help....” Dhoni began as he sought to explain the success of the bowling group, which had also restricted Pakistan to 130 and West Indies to 129. “Where we have struggled in the limited-overs format - both T20 and 50-over cricket – is wickets which are good to bat on and which don't support the spinners. That means even the part-timers have struggled in those few overs apart from (Suresh) Raina in the subcontinental conditions. If there's not much lateral movement, they bowl at the right pace to get hit, maybe. The bowlers who bowl quick, they don't bowl in the same areas. We have definitely got some potential when it comes to sheer fast bowling. Varun (Aaron) is someone who can bowl quick, Umesh (Yadav) is someone who can bowl at 140-plus. But still they are struggling to find their line and length, it may take a bit of time.
“Once they go back and play a domestic season, they can bowl back of a length and get away with it in most games. But in the international circuit, it doesn't really happen. In this tournament particularly, there is a bit of purchase for the spinners. We are playing with three spinners and even the part-timers... Raina has been bowling well, we have still not used Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli is there, Rohit (Sharma) is there. When the conditions favour us, our bowlers become very exciting and they make the most out of it. But they have struggled on wickets where there is no purchase for spinners.”
This is India’s first entry into the semifinals of the World T20 since its title triumph in 2007. “We have given a very good performance so far,” said Dhoni. “There are still some areas where we can improve. Fielding too has been good. We have dropped some catches but we have seen in this tournament that quite a few catches have been dropped. If our middle order has not been tested, then it's beyond our control. We can't do much about it. Virat has batted well and so has Rohit.”
The team hadn’t discussed the lack of success in World T20s coming into this tournament, Dhoni revealed. “We do not really discuss all that because one of the facts is that you are supposed to play well,” he offered. “That is what the criterion is. If the consideration was just getting into the semifinals, then what do you do once you reach the semifinals? You should be happy and just stay there and say okay, we have reached the semifinals, we don't want to play it. We came in with nothing in mind. We knew the conditions quite well, we play a fair bit in the subcontinent, especially the IPL, so we had the right kind of exposure. We knew the kind of problems we could face when it comes to bowling and batting, and we had to work on that. Again, we were concentrating on the process irrespective of what format we are playing. I feel it is always the process that is very important. Once you know the problem area, you can work on it and in a tournament like this, it is very important that you do not expose yourself, your weak link, to the opposition too much.”