Bound to be an exciting series: Dhoni
A rejuvenated Team India is ready to take on the visiting Australian side in the shorter formats of the game. “It is good to be back and start playing cricket,” skipper MS Dhoni said after training at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot ahead the only T20I, to be played on Thursday evening.
Expressing his thoughts on the tour opener, he said, “Given that there is one T20I and seven ODIs, it will be a long series. But if a side lags behind, they will have ample time to get back even if they lose the first two (one-day) international matches.”
When asked about Australia setting their sights on toppling India and regaining the ODI top spot by aiming for a 5-2 series win, Dhoni responded, “They can look at 7-0 also, but it is not about what we are looking at; it’s about how well we do on the field. They have got a very good side but we have also played good cricket.”
Discussing the George Bailey-led Australian side, he added “They have got the right mix of players. They have got all-rounders, proper batsmen and good bowlers. It will be a very exciting series and the best team will win.”
The Indian team too has a well-balanced side that will be looking to strengthen its top ranking. Speaking about his own team, Dhoni mentioned that all players are fit and available for selection. One of those players – back in the side and raring to go after a string of good performances in domestic matches – is Yuvraj Singh. The experienced all-rounder has been instrumental in winning matches, especially in the shorter formats of the game, and he will be one of the players to watch out for in the upcoming series. Speaking about Yuvraj Singh’s comeback and what it means to the team, the India captain said, “Yuvraj is a match winner and we all know that. He is a big player and has always proved himself. Whenever questions have risen, he has proved himself. He performs very well in big matches; in tough series he does well. So we are hoping that he will come back strong. He is looking good.”
Speaking about the added options Yuvraj Singh provides the team, Dhoni mentioned, “In the net sessions that we had today he is batting well. It will be good to have him in the side also as a bowling option. Having one more bowler helps. Apart from having five proper bowlers, having a few part-timers who can bowl especially at this time of the year when dew might be there gives us more bowlers to play with. So it is good for the team and also for Yuvraj.”
When asked how the team management is handling a player who is making a comeback, Dhoni explained, “We will try to keep it as normal as possible because once you are back in the side and it becomes like a comeback scenario, the kind of pressure on the player (is immense). It doesn’t matter if you are one of the biggest match winners or you are just making your debut or you are coming back. It is important to take the feeling away from the individual that he is coming back because what is important is for the individual to be expressive on the field, back himself, have belief in his talent and ultimately that will show in the field. We try to keep it as normal as possible and take the undue pressure off him, and hopefully it will work.”
Another key player in the side is Ravindra Jadeja who has played a vital role in India’s success in recent times. However, he has been going for runs in recent times. Speaking about the all-rounder’s form Dhoni said, “There are some ups and downs in careers of all cricketers and you have to deal with that. It is not like he has done badly. Whatever bowling he has done in international games, especially in the ODI format, he has done well. T20 is one format in which he feels a bit of pressure, but we have to maneuver around it.”
“Many a times we have used him in the last few overs, which puts a bit of pressure on spinners. We will try to use him in the best possible manner where a bit of pressure is taken off him. And the other bowlers who are in good form, they can handle the pressure that is there in slog overs. I think overall we will share the responsibility and that will make it easier for him to do well consistently,” he explained.
Speaking about the conditions and his bowling combination, Dhoni said, “We will have to see how much the wicket turns and whether dew will be a factor. Because if dew becomes a factor, then spinners may not get the same amount of turn that they would have got some other time of the year. So we will have to wait and watch. And dew may be a key factor because at this time of the year we have seen that at most of the venues we will have to fight dew.”
There was a bit of rain on Tuesday at the venue. And while talking about the weather and practice conditions, Dhoni said, “Considering the amount of rainfall that had happened, the groundsmen have done very good work. We have practiced as much as we could have today.”
“Tomorrow we will see the weather forecast, especially the hour before the game. That is more realistic. So we will have to wait till then,” he added.