One-off T20I good exposure: Dhoni
Johannesburg, Mar 29: India coach Duncan Fletcher and skipper MS Dhoni addressed the media on arrival in South Africa for the one-off Twenty20 international against South Africa on March 30. The two believe that the Friendship T20 Cup would be a positive experience for the young team.
"We have got quite a lot of young players here. We've been trying to develop a young one-day squad and Twenty20 squad. These blokes have played well in the subcontinent and any game they play out of it must be very good from an experience point of view," Fletcher said.
Speaking about his tenure with the Indian team so far, Fletcher said, "There’s been no middle road. We've played some very good cricket [in West Indies and at home] and then we've gone on to what I would consider two of the toughest tours you can go on within a short period of time. I don't know if any other side has done that: gone to England and Australia within four months.
"There are a lot of young players we are trying to groom, and hopefully it will pay dividends in the future. From our point of view, there is a lot of talent around; we need to give them the exposure they require," he said.
Asked whether players were happy to travel so far for one game, skipper Dhoni said, "All [are] happy! In South Africa sports is managed really well. When a team comes, everything is in place and in order. In the same way, when [a team] comes to India, the management, the airlines and the hotels, they go out of their way to make the players comfortable.”
When asked about the IPL, trailing long international tours, he said, "I don't think fatigue will be a real factor. We all enjoy playing the IPL; that's one format where you are not representing your country, and the span of the tournament is slightly longer so you play quite a few games. It's a different exposure. I always felt the platform was good for youngsters because they get to play with some of the best international cricketers. It helps you get a bit fitter also."
South Africa coach Gary Kirsten, however, felt that the one-off T20 game would be difficult for his players returning from the New Zealand series. "It’s going to be tough but I am quite excited. We've got a couple of new guys to have a look at there. It's difficult, it's the end of the season and it's a one-off game, but I think we are going to keep it pretty lighthearted, if we can stay awake," he said.