No. 6 spot up for grabs: Dhoni
Mirpur, Mar 12: Having beaten Sri Lanka in their last match of the CB Series, India will now play the World Cup runners-up at the Shere Bangla National Stadium here tomorrow as both teams begin their campaign for the Asia Cup.
Defending champs India come into the series with dismal tours against England and Australia behind them. “Over the years the [tournament] format has changed in the sense that now there are four good sides. It is a very short series, and it is very important to start on a positive note because it’s not very often that you play in a tournament where all the Asian countries are playing together.
“It’s not that we have done really badly [recently]. Of course, we had a patch where we have not done consistently well. [However,] when it comes to the ODI format, I think we have done quite well. We are hoping that we will stick to it and be consistent throughout the tournament,” India skipper MS Dhoni said about his team’s chances in the competition.
On the absence of Virender Sehwag from the tournament, Dhoni said, “Unfortunately [Sehwag’s] not there. We will miss him; he is one of the most dangerous openers. But this means we have one space in the playing XI right now. It may go to somebody like Yusuf Pathan so that we can balance the flair and the firepower and the stability that’s needed.
“I think it’s an opportunity for someone like a Yusuf or a Ravindra Jadeja to do well and grab that No. 6 position,” the skipper added.
Dhoni’s opposite number, Mahela Jayawardene, took his team to the CB Series finals which they eventually lost to Australia. Speaking about the recently concluded tour, Jayawardene said, “The intensity [of the CB series] was really high because we were performing at a very high level. Even though we lost the finals, I thought the commitment of the players and the energy level was very good.
“International cricket is [at a stage where] you need to adapt very quickly mentally and physically to the schedules that we have,” he said.