Pakistan is a more balanced side: Dhoni
When India take on Pakistan in the first ODI of the three-match series, in Chennai, it will be their first one-day game since some of the rules of the format were tweaked by the ICC in November. According one of the new rules, the fielding team has to have five men inside the circle throughout the innings.
Indian skipper, MS Dhoni, admitted that he is not a huge fan of this change. “If you ask me, I’m not very happy with the rules,” Dhoni said on the eve of the first ODI. “I feel that far too many changes are made in ODIs. People talk about [giving importance to] Test cricket and T20s and all the experiments are thrust on to the ODI format.”
“Every format has its own characteristic and a special entity. I think with all these changes, we’re dragging the ODIs more and more towards the T20s,” Dhoni said.
“When the ODI format was introduced, experts said it will make the spinners defensive and they will stop flighting the ball. I don’t know how they will bowl now with five men inside the circle throughout the innings.
“We play our first game tomorrow with the new rules, and as of now I don’t know what the best combination and par score would be with these new rules,” he said.
Dhoni also expressed concern over how difficult it would be for his young fast bowlers to adapt to the new rules, especially with the damp weather prevailing in Chennai.
“We have some young pacers in our squad who are inexperienced. It will be difficult for them with the new rules and the dew at this time of the year. The batsmen too will have to adapt to the changed rules and conditions,” Dhoni said.
India have included uncapped Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Shami Ahmed in the ODI squad. The Indian captain advocated the need to give these young fast bowlers a long rope in order to understand their abilities better.
“Until we get the opportunity to see more of a player’s character or abilities, we have to rely on the information that’s been passed on to us. The only way to find out what talent they have is to give them sufficient number of games.
“There’s no point confusing them with a thousand suggestions. It’s important to find out what they’re good at and help them improve on their skills to become better cricketers,” the Indian skipper said.
While Dhoni has a couple of rookie pacers in his team, Pakistan too have unleashed the 7ft 1in Mohammad Irfan. The fast bowler, who was originally part of only the T20I squad, has been added to the ODI squad due to his ability to trouble the Indian batsmen with disconcerting bounce and pace.
Dhoni said that the best way to deal with him is to learn from the experience of facing him. “As of now there isn’t too much buzz [in the dressing room] about him. Yes, he is a bit different.
“To start with, he’s a foot taller than the others. He gets good bounce and has decent pace. We will need to watch out for him and maybe some of our shorter batsmen should stand on stools while batting against him,” Dhoni joked.
On a more serious note, Dhoni admitted that Pakistan has a much more balanced team composition due to their strong bowling attack.
“Pakistan always has a very good combination. They field five bowlers and they have Mohammad Hafeez who can bowl a full quota as well. They have a complete bowling attack.
“They also have experienced batsmen who can do well in any conditions and are especially good against spinners. If you compare the Indian team with Pakistan’s, they have a more balanced side while we have a bit of flair up front,” he said.