Thursday, September 10, 2009

Karthik and Tendulkar set to open

India are set to kick off their tri-series campaign against New Zealand on Friday with a makeshift opening pair of Dinesh Karthik and Sachin Tendulkar.

With regular openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag missing through injury, Mahendra Singh Dhoni confirmed that Karthik will hold onto the opening spot which he occupied during the series against the West Indies.

"Dinesh Karthik will open tomorrow because he is doing well in the net sessions also because and we do not have a replacement right now," the Indian skipper told PTI.

"Dinesh has done that job in the West Indies and has done well for us in Test series also. Definitely he will open tomorrow.

"Best opener Sachin Tendulkar is also there."

The Delhi middle-order batsman has been called up to the India team as a replacement for Gambhir, but Dhoni says it's unlikely that he will open the innings in the long-run.

"We will see how Dinesh does in the series. I think it is unfair to give an individual just one game to prove himself," he said.

"Personally I feel Virat Kohli is not an opening batsman. Last time when we came here, Sehwag got injured during a practice session and Virat had to open and he did very well for us. But it is unfair to push a newcomer for the role.

"I would prefer Dinesh to open and give an opportunity to Virat Kohli where he fits and he has most chances of performing. This is a very short series."

Dhoni also confirmed that Rahul Dravid will walk straight back into the starting XI following his two-year absence from one-day cricket.

"Rahul is an ideal batsman for number three, particularly in these conditions and if we bat in the evening it would be very demanding situation," added the wicketkeeper.

"Dravid is one batsman who has proved that you need him when the bowl moves or seam. More often than not he will be batting in number three.

"If the overs are cut short because of rains and if we need to accelerate, then we reshuffle the order. We have done this in the past by not resorting to one fixed batting order but under normal circumstances Rahul will bat at number three."

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