Ashwin has bailed me out in a lot of situations: Dhoni


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MS Dhoni, the Rising Pune Supergiants skipper, praised his premium off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and brushed aside speculations of a difference of opinion between the two. The Indian limited-overs captain had received criticism from some quarters for under-bowling Ashwin in the recently-concluded 2016 World T20 and also during the Indian Premier League (IPL) opener against Mumbai Indians, where the off spinner bowled came on to bowl his only over as late as the 16th over of the match.

"Ashwin has bailed me out in a lot of situations whether bowling in the first six or in the slog phase," Dhoni said at a promotional event in Mumbai on Sunday (April 10). "He is a bowler who can come in and do well at any time.

"It's a subject, like revealing strategy," Dhoni reasoned. "Ashwin is a matured bowler. He can bowl at any point of time. I knew the moment they (Mumbai Indians) lost a few wickets there was pressure on their middle or lower middle order."

Dhoni also explained the rationale behind bowling out the inexperienced Tamil Nadu leg spinner, Murugan Ashwin, at the cost of under-bowling his lead spinner. The leg spinner came on to bowl at a time when Mumbai Indians had lost four wickets for 30 runs. Despite bowling a couple of short deliveries, the unheraled spinner composed himself to finish his spell with figures of 1 for 16.

"It was a very good platform for leg spinner Ashwin to come in," Dhoni said. Since you watched the game, you would have seen he is not someone who bowls a lot of short deliveries, but he was feeling the pressure.

"I thought it was more important for me to give him those four overs as in the longer run I need him as a wicket taking option, and I felt at that point of time if I can give him the four overs, it will give him the confidence to come back probably in the second and third game. It was a process of giving him confidence, but at the same time we were attacking from the other end, Rajat Bhatia was bowling well using the conditions, that was the reason (Ravi) Ashwin bowled one over and after that I thought going with fast bowlers was a better option," Dhoni concluded.

Supergiants will take on fellow newcomers Gujarat Lions in their second game on Thursday (April 14).