Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dhoni all for seven-match ODI series

Indian skipper MS Dhoni said the length of the current series against Australia would give the teams an opportunity to bounce back.
Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting, however, gave a thumbs down to the idea of a seven-match one-day series

Ponting, on his arrival to India, had questioned the logic of playing a long series, saying that it was difficult to maintain focus if a team had already wrapped up the rubber.

"This is a long series which gives us an opportunity to come back into the series. Whichever side loses the first few games have ample time to come back. It is important to play good cricket throughout," Dhoni said at the pre-match media conference here.

"It's not like a five-game or four-game series where you win the first three and the tournament is in your hands," he said.

Dhoni said most of the Indian players were fit to play but a decision on the team composition would be taken only tomorrow. He said Yuvraj Singh would definitely be fit to play the second match at Nagpur on October 28.

"I won't comment on tomorrow's playing eleven. Yuvi will play the second game, that's for sure," he said.

"Most of the guys are fit. Most guys are carrying small niggles but not major injuries. You can't do much when someone gets injured while batting or bowling during practice sessions, which are so intense.", he said.

"That's part and parcel. If you get injured often in a short time span, then you are unlucky," Dhoni said.

The Indian skipper said they do not have the "luxury" to go in with five bowlers like Australia and hoped part-timers would do the job.

"We have often relied on the part-timers. They have contributed, specially in a situation like this where they may get assistance from the wicket. That's one thing in the mind but to comment right now is too early," he said.

"All rounders are very crucial. If you have a good all rounder you can play with five specialist bowlers. They have that luxury. They have a side which has got the better talent when it comes to all-rounders," he said.

Dhoni felt that though fast bowlers did extremely well for India in their last Test series at home against Australia, the one-day scenario was different.

"It's a completely different ball game. The ball is different, a white ball. With the red ball reverse swing comes in and the length and line (to bowl) is different. Zaheer's not here which is a factor," he said.

"Last time the fast bowlers did a great job but at the same time spinners' performance was also great. Even part-timers got wickets. The situation and scenario are also very different," the wicket keeper batsman said.

Dhoni felt the wicket prepared for the game at the Reliance Stadium would not crack as much as it did in the last ODI played there, between India and Sri Lanka.

"Right now there's some stickiness. It's an early start. You will have to see conditions tomorrow. There will be a fair amount of dew on the field at this time. It looks a good track and it seems it will not break up as much as it did the last time we played here," Dhoni said.

About his own minor injury, sustained when he faced speedster Munaf Patel in the net session, Dhoni said he was feeling much better. "Today I'm a lot better."

Asked about the fact that key Australian bowlers, like pace spearhead Brett Lee have acclimatised to the conditions by playing in the Airtel Champions League Twenty20, Dhoni preferred to look on the other aspect.

"It has given them good experience. But at the same time it can be said they are a bit exhausted. Yesterday also they played a game. It will depend on the result. If they get a good result you can think they got good practice. If not you can say they got exhausted," he said.

Dhoni refused to get into a debate over the sacking of the bowling and fielding coaches Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh ahead of the series after they had been part of the support staff for two years.

"We have a coach. (Gary Kirsten). We are trying to do whatever we can with the available resources", he said.

Dhoni reiterated that his team was not worried about the ICC rankings.

"I have said often that we concentrate on playing good cricket and that takes care of the ratings," he said.

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