Usually a master of phrases that hardly reveal anything, M.S. Dhoni largely bucked that trend in the pre-match press conference at the P. Sara Oval here on Saturday noon.
The Indian captain spoke about effecting changes in the playing eleven against England; emphatically backed Zaheer Khan, calling him the ‘Sachin of the bowling department’; supported Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir and at the same time hinted that the batting order is not set in stone.
Mix and match
Looking ahead at the Super Eights, Dhoni is keen to mix and match his players against England. “We are looking at making a few changes in the playing eleven so that most of the 15 players we have, have atleast one game before the knock-out stages.
“We would like to give some game-time for the batsmen as well as the bowlers so that when we are looking at playing the fifth bowler then we will know who suits the conditions,” the captain said.
An off-colour Zaheer gained a huge vote of confidence from Dhoni, who said: “we should give him equal respect like the one we give to Sachin because he is the Sachin for us when it comes to bowling department.
“He has been our best bowler whatever the format may be. May be in the last few games he may not have got the wickets but we have a chance of giving him a few games because we are in a stage where we can do that. I am hoping that he gets back.”
The Sehwag-Gambhir combine also gained some breathing space and the Indian captain said: “We are talking about match-winners, who can on their day take the game away. So you would like to give them a (long) rope so that in the knock-out stages they win a few games for us.”
And as for the batting slots, Dhoni emphasised that Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh are ideal at numbers three and four but at the same time added: “We have told the team that nobody is allotted a slot and according to the match, there might be changes.”
India’s batting also found a supporter in Stuart Broad, who added that England is up for the challenge. “India has a powerful batting line-up. We know the dangers they offer, they have played a lot of Twenty20 cricket domestically and internationally.
“One thing I will say, if we play cricket like we did (against Afghanistan), the way we went about the things, the passion and the energy we showed in the field, we will be in a good position” the England captain said.
Keywords: Twenty20 world Cup