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Need to close games from crucial situations: Dhoni

Captain and coach hope young bowlers have learnt from SA and NZ tours

As he leads a young Team India to their biggest tour of the season, the English sojourn, MS Dhoni is full of hope and realistic expectations. This might be the first tour to England for most of the 18 members of the Test squad but Dhoni feels the experience in South Africa and New Zealand will come in handy for the youngsters.

“For quite a few players this will be their first tour to England but most of them have been got the exposure playing in South Africa and New Zealand,” Dhoni said. “With a few games behind them they will be at ease there. It’s also a good thing that we’re going a bit early, which will give us time to get into the groove.”

The captain hopes the new boys have learnt from their experiences from the twin tours and will use that in England to their advantage.

“We had disappointing series in England and Australia the last time but in South Africa and New Zealand we were in positions where we could have won matches. We weren’t able to close the games but we bowled really well. This time we need to close the games.” Dhoni said, which coach, Duncan Fletcher seconded.

“It was disappointing – 4-0 losses in England and Australia is not easy to take. This is a very young side but sometimes that’s a good thing,” said Fletcher. “Hopefully, they have learnt from the Tests in SA and NZ. If we manage to win one game, it will suddenly give them the confidence to win the series.”

When asked to state the logic behind taking an extended squad of 18 players, Dhoni said having players on the bench who are used to the conditions will stand the team in good stead in case of injuries.

“The last time in England we had quite a few injuries and we were a fast bowler short, which is a big blow,” Dhoni recalled. “This is a five-match Test series and it can be tough on the boys. What an 18-member squad does is if we have injuries, the players who will replace the injured ones will already have enough exposure of the conditions.

“The bowlers will know what lengths to bowl and how to go about their plans. If they’re not required, they will have good practice in those conditions. They last time when injuries happened, we had to fly in a lot of players who had to play without getting used to the conditions.”

Talking about his own batting, Dhoni said he will be aggressive in his approach and play his natural game. “I’ve realized that I have to be far more aggressive in my batting because I play much better that way than when I try to play like a proper batsman.

“It’s important to back your instincts and not think too much about the situation. I shouldn’t look to bat out time because there are other batsmen who can do that. If the ball is in my slot – whether it’s the first or the last – I should go for it.”

India’s overseas Test performances have been under the scanner since quite a while, and Dhoni feels organizing ‘A’ and emerging players tours to the western countries will help create a generation of Indian cricketers who are ready to play in alien conditions. He referred to India’s upcoming ‘A’ tour to Australia.

“We have been working behind the scenes to ensure that the upcoming cricketers play more matches in foreign conditions. Often when we don’t do well overseas, people say we should make fast and bouncy wickets in India. But it’s not easy, you can’t make such wickets in India. So, the more the youngsters go and play outside, the more equipped they will be when the make the big stage,” the Indian captain said.

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Report: Bangladesh vs India – 3rd ODI

Match abandoned due to rain, India win the series 2-0

The third ODI between India and Bangladesh was abandoned due to persistent rain in Dhaka. India won the three-match series 2-0.

India stand-in captain Suresh Raina won the toss and chose to bat. The visitors scored 119 for nine after being asked to bat in a rain interrupted innings until the game was called off.

India were reduced to 17 for four by the Bangladesh pace attack. The opening pair of Ajinkya Rahane and Robin Uthappa made a slow start scoring just 6 runs in first three overs. After a slow start, India lost Robin Uthappa in the 5th over when he edged a Mashrafe Mortaza delivery.

Rahane too did not last long as Al-Amin Hossain got him out in the sixth over of the inning. Ambati Rayudu too did not do anything special with the bat and departed in the 9th over off the bowling of Taskin Ahmed.

After Rayudu's wicket, rain took over the game for some time. However, with rain stopping well in tme, no overs were lost. India though did lose Manoj Tiwary on the bowling of Al-Amin Hossain. Just when Suresh Raina had started to play his shots, rain made a comeback to halt the game once again.

The match resumed with revised playing conditions of 40 overs per side. India needed a big partnership from Raina and Pujara. But that could not happen as Shakib Al Hasan dismissed Raina in the 19th over.

India lost their sixth wicket as Shakib Al Hasan got the better of Wriddhiman Saha for 16 runs. India were 89 for 6 in 25 overs. Shakib continued to shine with the ball with another dismissal. Pujara was out for 27 runs.

India made 119/9 at the end of 34.2 overs before the match was abandoned.

Man of the Series: Stuart Binny.