India's batting coach Sanjay Bangar has suggested that it was the batsmen who were to be blamed for India's 11-run loss at the hands of Windies in the 4th ODI. The 44-year old also added that these situations were tailor made to test India's strong middle order under pressure.
India slumped to an 11-run defeat in the fourth ODI against West Indies after failing to chase a modest 190 and were bundled out for 178. The Men in Blue still lead the series 2-1.
Sanjay Bangar, the Indian batting coach, noted that the sluggish pitch played a part in India's loss but suggested that the Indian batsmen should have been ready to face the challenge.
"It (the pitch) kept getting slower and shot-making wasn't really easy. Those have been the nature of wickets we have seen so far. But we didn't really bat to our potential. It was a gettable score. I just felt the batsmen let the team down," Bangar told PTI.
"We encountered this situation even in the previous game when we lost a couple of wickets in the first 10 overs but we still managed to get 260 on a wicket which was very very damp. Suffice to say we have been playing on wickets which have been difficult.
"Credit to them (West Indies). They executed their plans really well but I just felt it was a very very gettable score," he added.
India looked in complete control of the match with Ajinkya Rahane and MS Dhoni on the crease at 101-3 and seemed to be easing towards a win. However, Rahane and Kedar Jadhav's departures in quick succession suddenly made the target of 190 look like an up-hill battle for the Indian batsmen who eventually bowed out at 178.
"The plan was for somebody to bat deeper into the innings. That's what Ajinkya did till he got out. Till that time we were on course but suddenly we lost couple of wickets. Those wickets in the middle overs actually pushed us back. The run rate just kept on creeping higher and higher," Bangar said.
The Indian batting coach termed the situation as beneficial for the middle order who would learn to persist under pressure.
"That is the goal of the team. You need to put the players in those situations which they are going to encounter at that particular position. Kedar at No.6 or Hardik at No.7. You need to see how they handle the pressure and how they need to make sure the team finishes the crossing line.
"These are big experiences for them. When Hardik, Jaddu (Ravindra Jadeja) got out it was still run-a-ball. In these situations shot selection was really crucial and at times I just felt they erred in that," Bangar said, reported PTI.
Ravindra Jadeja was brought in to fill in the shoes of Ravichandran Ashwin but failed to impact the game with both bat and ball. Bangar threw his weight behind the Saurashtra all-rounder's inclusion in the team.
"He (Jadeja) has already done really well in the Test format. You saw that in the last season. He produced match- winning performances in Dharamsala and Mohali Tests. He produced some really brilliant innings for the team," he said.
"But as far as ODI cricket is concerned he really bats down the order and I feel those are certain things that get magnified because it's not that only the lower-order should contribute, it's also about what we did early on in the innings. So, let's not be too harsh on Jadeja.
"Today he ended up conceding under 5 runs an over. He bowled with the wind while the other spinners were bowling against the wind. At times we are not going to churn out performances," Bangar added.
MS Dhoni was in the line of fire too as the former Indian skipper took 108 deliveries to get to his half-century and failed to shift gears towards the end of the innings to uphold his finisher tag which eventually resulted in India's loss.
However, Bangar backed up Dhoni terming his sluggish innings appropriate for the situation.
"You need to assess the conditions. At times you need to play according to the demand of the situation. MS (Dhoni) is batting higher up the order.
"The kind of depth we have in our batting order at No. 6,7 and 8 when they can't really come off, he (Dhoni) can't play with the freedom that he should. It all boils down to how the batsmen at the other end are batting, how many wickets we have in hand," Bangar said.
Lasith Malinga or Bhuvneshwar Kumar? Who will take more wickets?
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