India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said it felt good to start playing international cricket again.

When asked about the Twenty20 game and seven-match ODI series against Australia, he said: “It is good to be back on the field and start playing cricket. Some of us had a break of two months and a few others close to one and a half months. So, it is good to be back on the field.

“It will be a long series, the teams will have ample time and the side that lags behind can get back even if it loses the first two games. It will be different from other series where we have played five matches, but I think we have played seven ODIs once.

“Australia is a very good side. They have got the right mix, as they have all-rounders, solid batsmen and good bowlers. It will be a very exciting series and the best team will win,” added Dhoni.

Yuvraj’s comeback

About Yuvraj Singh’s return to the side, Dhoni said he would lighten the pressure on the left-hander. “We will try to keep it (interaction) as normal as possible because in a comeback scenario, the pressure on a player is immense.

“It doesn’t matter if you are one of the biggest match-winners, or you are just making your debut…it’s important that you take the feeling away from the individual that he is staging a comeback.

“It is important for the individual to be able to express himself on the field, back himself, and have belief in his talent.

“We will try to take the pressure off him and, hopefully, it will work,” said the Indian skipper.

Dhoni said he enjoyed playing all formats of the game. “I feel that the ODIs are a mix of Test cricket and the shorter format, which is the T20.

“What we are increasingly seeing is ODIs making a big impact on the way Tests are being played just the way T20s have had on ODIs.

“A few batsmen are playing the reverse sweep even against some of the fastest bowlers in the world. Every format is special for its own reasons. I think the ODIs have a charm of their own, and that is the way forward.”

No clear favourite

Australian skipper George Bailey, when asked about the favourite for the T20 match, said: “In a one-match series, it is hard to have a favourite, particularly in a format like Twenty20 where one individual with a terrific performance can take away the game from the opponent quickly. If there is a favourite, it is only by a very small margin.’’

Bailey also felt that every time an Australian team arrives in India, the focus was on how the batsmen were going to tackle the spinners.

“It is as much about having a clear plan as anything else. I really think we have a number of players who play spin really well and it’s a matter of executing it in the heat of the battle.

“It is all about having a clear plan, working through that with your partner in the middle by summing up the situation of when and where to go,” added Bailey.


Stage set for a rollicking start to seriesOctober 9, 2013

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