Spotting Ashok Dinda at the Team India nets is an easy task. He is not tall or well-built like most others of his ilk. But the Bengal seamer appears to be most industrious player during practice sessions, often drenched in sweat from head to toe.
Dinda may not be the most skillful bowler in the Indian team, but he seems to have won skipper MS Dhoni’s confidence. And that’s why you saw him pick Dinda ahead of Shami Ahmed — another Bengal seamer — who performed extremely well on his debut against Pakistan in New Delhi. Figures of 1/23 with four maidens in nine overs floored many.
But the smart skipper that Dhoni is, he didn’t get carried away. “We knew Dinda can bowl yorker-length balls, but did not know how Shami would bowl on such a wicket,” Dhoni had said after the first ODI in Rajkot. Many were upset over Shami’s non-inclusion in the series opener.
Dinda did what Dhoni wanted from him. He was the most successful bowler in that game, finishing with 2/53 in eight overs. You may point out the economy rate — 6.62 — but what do you expect on a track like that?
Dinda, with his experience and ability to mix up the deliveries, got the two crucial wickets of Kevin Pietersen and Eoin Morgan. The 28-year-old may not have the skills to swing the ball like Bhuvneshwar Kumar does. Nor can he bowl sharp in-cutters like Ishant Sharma. But the man has carved a niche for himself with his daredevilry. His confidence in his abilities and the eagerness to learn every time is what separates him from the others.
Sunil Gavaskar, too, has lauded Dinda. “He showed good heart. Dinda has learnt from his previous matches and that is what cricket is all about.”