Cricketnext caught up with India, Bengal and Pune Warriors India pace bowler Ashok Dinda to get his thoughts on his and the franchise's performance in IPL 6, his axing form the national team for the ICC Champions Trophy and working with South African great Allan Donald.
Excerpts from the interview:
Not a good tournament for the team, but how do you rate your IPL 6?
The tournament was not that good for us. Despite having a strong side, we didn't click and were not up to the mark. We finished eighth in the league, which was not expected at all. We had good plans prior to the IPL, but they all went in vain. Or, you can say luck wasn't with us. Despite having players like Aaron Finch, Angelo Mathews , Steven Smith, Luke Wright and Yuvraj bhai, Pune Warriors slumped badly. Undoubtedly, we had a strong team. We gave a good fight but luck didn't favour us.
If you ask about me, I am pretty happy with the way I bowled. I did my best for the side. Being the highest wicket-taker in the side, I sweated out on the nets with my team-mates and I concentrated more on line and length. I will hope to finish in the top three next season.
Do you think the changing of captains on regular intervals affected the team's performance?
Yes, Pune lacked a good leader. Finch and Mathews are outstanding but they have not played much as cricket in their career. The leader should be experienced and Pune missed one.
Do you think Michael Clarke's absence made a difference?
I have not played with him. Even I didn't practice with him at nets. He is a world-class player and leads a strong side like Australia. I think his presence would have mattered in the IPL.
Where did Pune Warriors India lack? And what about Yuvraj Singh, who didn't click?
As I told you it was all luck in the tournament. In some matches, we gave a solid fightback but lost. I have never seen Yuvraj bhai working as hard as he did in this season. He spent a lot of time in the nets. Pune expected a lot from him.
Were you expecting to be included in India's Champions Trophy squad?
Honestly, I was very much sure for my selection in the ICC Champions Trophy. I gave my best in the IPL 6 and took 16 wickets. I really worked hard, but it is all up to the selection committee. I bowled good in the league and was hundred percent sure of being named for England. This would have been my first foreign tour and I was really eager to don the India blues. The moment I got the selection news, I was upset but after an hour I got up and continued with my daily routine. Right now, I am targeting my India A selection, in August. I will make it again. I have full confidence in my hard work.
Where do you think you can improve?
I want to bowl much better in the death overs. That's what I need to work on. With Pune, I was playing under the guidance of a legendary bowler - Allan Donald. He observed my bowling and gave me many tips. He told me to be myself and bowl correctly in the death overs. For example; AB de Villers is the most dangerous batsman to bowl at, especially in the death overs. He has every shot to send the ball to the boundary ropes. We had to be very careful while bowling to him. MS Dhoni too is very clever while batting. He can judge the bowler from a distance.
In the first match, I bowled him but after that he played me brilliantly. I am planning to experiment now. I will produce a new ball, especially for death overs. In the shortest format of the game, we have to have a different mind game. Lasith Mallinga, who is known for his toe crushers and witty line and lengths, was not up to the mark in the tournament. He gave many runs. For me, Dale Steyn has performed really well among the pacers in the tournament.
Are you satisfied with your performance?
Yes, I am. I gave my best in the league. I took 16 wicked from 12 matches which is a pretty good result for me. In the shorter format we have to stop the flow of runs and take wickets. Considering that, I have done quite well.
Donald said that your bowling action reminds him of his own action. Whats your take on that?
(Laugh) Allan Donald is a legend. I have learned a lot under his guidance. After every match and in the nets too he gave me many tips which will be favourable all my life. He is really good at heart. He told to me grab the ball aggressively and never show a batsman that you are nervous. Always present yourself as confident and ready to challenge with your eye contact and body language, weather it is in the death overs or first over of the innings. He also told me to scare batsmen through eye contact. It shows you will be going to bowl something different in your next delivery. He also taught me to never lose confidence. As far as the bowling action is concern, yes he has complimented that I remind him of his time. That is a biggest compliment for me from a legend. My bowling action is like that. I asked him for the action, but he told me never to change it. He also said that changing my action would lead to difficulties in line and length too. So be what you are, he advised me.