M.S. Dhoni attempted to focus on the third ODI in the pre-match press conference, saying he wouldn't take questions on the selection of the squad for the World Cup. Unsurprisingly, he failed.
The sixth question pertained to the morale of those in the current squad — Rohit Sharma, M. Vijay, Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth — who had failed to make the 15 for the World Cup.
“You can have only 15 players, someone will miss out” said Dhoni. “And it's not like they won't get a chance. These guys are the next in line. If any batsman or bowler gets injured, a guy from the extras will come up. So it's very important to be in a good frame of mind. It's important to just give your best, and wait for your chance.”
Asked if he would give Piyush Chawla a look-in, considering the leg-spinner hasn't played an ODI since July 2008, Dhoni said, “It's important. International cricket, as I always say, is very different from domestic or county or IPL games.”
Elaborating on Chawla's selection for the World Cup, Dhoni said, “He adds variety to the spin department, and he can bat a bit. If we feel the five-bowler tactic needs to be employed, then we will have to feature someone who can bat a bit. Ashwin and Piyush Chawla can both bat at No. 7.”
Speaking about Tuesday's game, the Indian captain said his team would need to start afresh, not expect to coast on the momentum of the one-run win. “We won the last game but it was not like we played to our potential,” he said. “We are still playing below our potential. It's not only the batting department. There are other areas too that we need to work on. Fielding is, of course, big. And death bowling is crucial.”
Dhoni said Sachin Tendulkar's absence was a big blow. “But it's not the first time we have faced it. We have been missing first-choice players for quite some time now. It's given the others an opportunity, and some of them have grabbed that opportunity because of which they are part of the World Cup squad. It's good exposure for the youngsters, tough conditions, the series level, three games to go. It's good for everyone.”
With Tendulkar unavailable, Dhoni said Virat Kohli would open with M. Vijay. Rohit would bat at No. 3 and Yusuf Pathan would play down the order.