Mohali: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday defended his decision to entrust struggling pacer Ishant Sharma to bowl the 48th over which yielded 30 runs to hand the third ODI to Australia from a winning position, saying that he was just using an option.
"Well, then the option was that even I could have bowled. You have to see what all options are available to you. Vinay Kumar had also bowled, he had also gone for some runs. I thought let's see by having a change," Dhoni said at the post-match press conference.
"If Ishant bowls, then I will have the option of bowling Vinay from other end if he does not bowl well. However, it's always easy after seeing result to say what should have been or not been done," he said.
James Faulkner scored 30 runs from the 48th over with the help of a four and four sixes to seal a four-wicket win for Australia over India who seemed cruising at one stage.
Dhoni said in hindsight though he should have given the ball to Vinay Kumar. "May be if it would have gone to Vinay, 10-12 runs would have been given not more than that. But, but in cricket it does not go that way. You try to take the right decision, sometimes it works, sometimes it does not," he said.
The team for the remaining four ODIs will be picked on Sunday but Dhoni said he believed in giving struggling players to give a longer rope. "I will talk to selectors if it concerns selection. There are some batsmen who have not made runs, there are bowlers who have gone for runs. All of a sudden when you lose one or two matches you want the playing eleven bowlers to be removed.
"They are part of the side, because they are talented and let's back them. The bowlers who are waiting in wings, they can wait a bit more. Once somebody goes out of the side, tendency is that they are forgotten, they keep talking about new bowler. I always feel that people who are in the side should be given the rope, does not matter if he is a bowler or a batsman."
Asked how he has been dealing with Ishant who has been having a bad run of form, Dhoni said, "This generation of bowlers, we have to keep talking to them. They have some amount of experience but if you consider the rule changes, with fifth fielder inside, I think most of the bowlers are new, their experience does not really count.
"What we have seen is in a particular game, a few set of bowlers may have a off day, that's where we have to make sure not to give too many runs. Even when you bowl a bad overs, try to restrict it to 15-18 runs because if you go higher than that it has a bigger impact on the game.
"I think in this series, you will see quite a few times this balance shifting, better bowlers when they are going through a bad over or a bad spell, they will try not to give those extra runs."
He said there's no need to speak to Ishant immediately as he would need to analyse his own performance. "When you are disappointed, it is always better to give the individual a bit of time because he wants to think on his own. I think the ideal time is when the individual has gone back to hotel and he has thought whatever is in his mind, then have a chat with him.
"The reason he is more in a frame of mind when he will be accepting and he won't be frustrated. Nobody wants to really bowl a bad over when you are representing the country and bowling before 30,000 odd people. When the right time comes we will have a chat."
Asked if Ishant has a technical problem, some saying his wrist position is a problem, Dhoni said, "I don't know the technicality of the game. He has not had a very bad game, it was just one over or two over. Nobody has spoken about eight overs, when he gave us the wicket.
"I think overall you have to see everything. If a bowler bowls a bad over when somebody is going through a tough period, that's the time when everybody backs him."
Dhoni said Australia are a quality side and they cannot be taken lightly at any stage. "They are a really good side. Also the fact that timing of the series, dew factor does play a bit. We were in a position to win this game, but at the same time it becomes a bit difficult for the bowlers to execute. So, I think overall what we are seen that wickets are good for batting, the side which bowls slightly better, few overs of good bowling is the side that will win the most of the games.
"If you keep taking wickets at regular intervals, what we have seen you are able to restrict the opposition. Today, we kept losing wickets but still we got 300 odd runs, with fifth fielder inside. It's becoming a bit difficult. If you have right partnership and you have wickets in hand, you may see the team scoring more than 300."
Asked why Indian bowlers bowled yorkers at the nets but really does not come off in match situations, he said, "Practice makes you perfect, when you are bowling in nets, there is no real pressure on you. That's why I say that if you are hitting 15 sixes in half an hour in the nets, you may hit 3-4 in the match situation.
"We are practising hard, it's just a matter of time we get better and better and start executing in the game when there is real pressure."