Happy with 12 pm start: Dhoni
Team India is no stranger to must-win situations. Despite being slow starters, the Men in Blue have in them what it takes to fight back. Now, trailing the three-ODI series 0-1, they are faced with the perform-or-perish situation once again as they take on Pakistan at the Eden Gardens.
“It’s an important game and we are a bit under pressure, this being a must-win game. In such a short series you can’t let the opponent get too far ahead,” India captain, MS Dhoni, said during his pre-match interaction with the media.
While India find themselves behind in the series mainly due to the batting collapse in Chennai, MS Dhoni said that it’s the inexperienced bowling attack that worries him more.
“It would be wrong to say that we’re not batting well on the basis of just the last match,” the captain said. “We have batted quite well in the limited overs cricket. Even if a couple of batsmen haven’t scored runs, someone has stood up and taken the responsibility.”
Dhoni feels the only way to strengthen the bowling attack is to give them more exposure. “Most of the bowlers who have been a regular part of the team are injured, which means we are lacking in experience.
“Right now we have a very young bowling attack, and with the new ODI rules it is all the more difficult. The more they play, they will improve. They just need proper exposure,” Dhoni said.
The Indian skipper has been vocal about his displeasure with the new rules that require the fielding team to have five men inside the circle throughout an ODI innings. After playing one match under the revised playing regulations, the Indian captain finds himself in a dilemma over his team combination.
“I would say that because of the new rules, the pressure on bowling has increased. Since our fifth bowler is a part-timer, it’s quite difficult for him to bowl with five fielders inside the circle,” Dhoni said.
Further explaining why he cannot go with five specialist bowlers, Dhoni said, “It’s a Catch-22 situation. You have to see if six batsmen will be enough. Some people would say that if six batsmen cannot do the job for you, the seventh will make no difference. But in the last match, if we didn’t have the seventh batsman, we’d have been dismissed for 120-odd. So, you have to assess everything.
“It is of course very difficult when you’re expecting your part-timers to bowl 10 overs. All we can do is look for someone who can do that job. We don’t have a genuine seaming all-rounder to bring that balance to the side,” rued Dhoni.
However, there’s one thing that has pleased the Indian captain. Often advocating the need to take the toss out of the equation and giving both teams an equal opportunity to succeed, Dhoni is happy with the rescheduling of the last two ODI matches to 12 pm.
The early morning start in overcast Chennai conditions proved detrimental to India’s hopes after Dhoni lost the toss and the Indian batsmen fell like nine-pins to Pakistan’s swing and seam. In day/night games, the dew often plays the deciding role in the second half of the innings when the ball becomes soggy and difficult to grip. Beginning the ODI match at noon takes these testing conditions out of picture.
“I’m happy with the 12 pm start because it ensures that the toss doesn’t become vital. The playing conditions remain pretty much the same throughout the match.
You have to play good cricket to win and cannot rely too much on the toss. I think it’s a good time to start because we often see that in winters if you lose the toss, 70-75 percent of the time the team that bats second wins the game,” Dhoni said, before confirming that Virat Kohli, who injured his knee during the last match, is available for selection.