Dhoni not in favour of playing extra bowler

(source: The Tines Of India)


BANGALORE: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni says he is not planning to use an extra specialist bowler against Ireland in Sunday’s World Cup match, despite a glut of runs in the previous two games at the Chinnaswamy Stadium. 

Dhoni told reporters Saturday he believed “you should always back your strength, which is batting,” and that India would continue to rely on part-time bowlers in the Group B match.

India’s batting line-up is considered the best in the World Cup, but its four-man bowling attack has been unimpressive, giving rise to speculation that India might play an extra specialist bowler in the good batting conditions.

Ireland overhauled England’s total of 327/8 on Wednesday while India and England both hit 338 in a dramatic tie on February 27 at the Bangalore venue.

Paceman Zaheer Khan has been the pick of India’s bowlers, with his new-ball partner Munaf Patel and off spinner Harbhajan Singh the other specialists to have played against England and in the opening victory over Bangladesh.

Pace bowler Shantakumaran Sreesanth and leg spinner Piyush Chawla have been tried as the fourth bowler, with part-time spinners Yuvraj Singh and Yusuf Pathan filling the fifth slot in the two matches.

“I will be inclined to play with seven batsmen because you should always back your strength, which is batting,” Dhoni said. “You should not be in a situation where you find you are 30 runs short.”

Dhoni said flat batting tracks were common in India, with help for spinners only on some pitches.

“That is what you can expect tomorrow also. It is difficult to say whether it (the pitch) will turn or not. In the last two games we have seen high scoring games with close to 1,400 runs scored. Hopefully, we will have another high-scoring game,” he said.

“So far, batting under lights has been quite easy. In the afternoon, the ball stops a bit and spinners get help, but the pitch becomes placid later,” he added.

The wicketkeeper-batsman said a team had to consider its options carefully.

“Right now we are happy with the way we are going. Yuvraj and Yusuf are doing the fifth bowler’s job quite well.

“If people are changing their opinion on our bowling on the basis of one match (vs England), then it does not matter to us. What matters is working hard in the nets, working on our variations,” he said.

Dhoni said the squad was fit but the team composition had not been decided for Sunday’s game.

Asked how the team decided on the second spinner in case it was playing two specialist slow bowlers, Dhoni said it depended on the opposition.

“If there are plenty of left handers in that team, we are inclined to play more off-spinners and (Ravichandran) Ashwin gets a chance. If the opposition is likely to have a problem picking the wrong ones, then Chawla gets a chance because he can turn the ball both ways,” Dhoni said.

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