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India don't have even one bowler Dhoni can rely on: Rahul Dravid

India don't have even one bowler Dhoni can rely on: Rahul Dravid

Talking to TOI, Dravid added that India's WC defence will depend on at least 2-3 bowlers bowling well together.

New Delhi: Indian batting legend Rahul Dravid has come down heavily on India’s bowling, saying that currently there’s not even one bowler skipper MS Dhoni can turn to in ODI cricket.

In an interview to Times of India, the former India captain talked in detail about India’s batting, bowling and their recent overseas woes.

“At the moment, the area they’re really struggling is in the ‘death.’ India don’t seem to have one guy whom Dhoni can turn to and know he will deliver the goods, which is tough for him as a captain," Dravid, who retired in 2012, told TOI.

“If he [Dhoni] looks around the field, and if he isn’t sure who he can go to, his ‘banker’ so to speak, it does become difficult. They [Indian bowlers] are skilled and talented, but they haven’t been able to execute those skills under pressure, as much as the team management would have wanted," Dravid said.


Dravid was also critical of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, who not only have failed as bowlers of late but also as senior pacers in the squad. “Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav, who you thought would step up and guide the younger bowlers, are not at their best. It will be challenge to get them bowling well again. Umesh and Ishant have to take the responsibility rather than leaving it on Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed, who are just coming through."

When asked if that’s going to hurt India’s World Cup defence, Dravid said it will depend on “two-three bowlers in rhythm" before the tournament. “Like I said earlier, it can all change if two-three bowlers get their rhythm right. That’s the key."

Indian batting, barring Virat Kohli and Dhoni, hasn’t done well on the tour of South Africa and the ongoing one in New Zealand. Short-pitched bowling once again proved to the batsmen’s Achilles heel, particularly for Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina.

“The challenge Dhawan and Raina are facing is that sometimes they’re chasing pretty high scores. When you’re playing the short ball and chasing a high score, you have to take it on all the time.

“When Suresh comes in, the required run-rate is around eight. He can’t be leaving and ducking the short ball at that time. He’s got to go at everything. That’s tough. I’m sure the Indian batsmen will play the short ball better in the Tests [in New Zealand]," Dravid opined.

Dravid said achieving Kohli-like consistency is the real challenge for India’s young batsmen.

“Rahane [is] a good player. The real challenge for these youngsters, who are all exciting, is consistency. Virat seems to have cracked it … the others need to string in consistent performances and establish themselves. The last thing you want is for them to always be under pressure, because it can weigh them down. Consistency will give them confidence, which I think is very important," India’s former Test No. 3 said.

Dravid felt Cheteshwar Pujara could hold India’s batting together in overseas ODIs, urging the selectors to give him a chance considering the 2015 World Cup will be played in Australia and New Zealand

“Pujara’s got the skils and ability to cope with and play in the ODIs. I won’t want to write him off as an ODI player, especially with the World Cup coming up in Australia. I would encourage the selectors to give him some opportunities, because his record in domestic cricket is phenomenal," the Karanataka man said.

After retiring from international cricket in 2012, Dravid quit all forms of competitive cricket last year with the IPL, where he led the Rajasthan Royals. But he is going to be back this season as a mentor of the Rajasthan franchise.

“It’s very interesting. It’s different no doubt. Earlier, as the captain, I was focusing on the cricketing side, and my own performance. Now, it is more about tactics, strategy. My work began with retentions, and now there is the auction. We’ve retained most of our support staff. My role [as a mentor] is managing that and working with the shareholders and the franchise to try and put together a good team."