Mahendra Singh on Tuesday hinted that the Indian team will try out a few things in the home rubber against the Caribbeans starting in Kochi tomorrow.
On the eve of the first ODI at the Nehru Stadium, Dhoni, however, made it clear that although he will look to experiment with a few things, winning the series is of paramount importance for India.
“We want to see the bigger picture here. We want to do a few things (in the series) because you don’t want to go to Australia and say we should have done this, we should have done that. We will see what our cricketers can offer (against West Indies) and I will also see what best I can do,” Dhoni said at the pre-match press conference.
“But it is important to start well and look to win the series. This is first and foremost in our minds,” he stressed.
After the conclusion of the series against the West Indies, India will tour Australia from December 2014 to January 2015, for four Tests followed by an ODI tri-series that will feature England as well.
So understandably, queries on India’s preparation for the Australia tour took most of the attention.
In the absence of injured Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane is expected to take up the responsibility of opening the batting.
But Dhoni did not mince words when he said he always prefers Rahane over Rohit in the opening slot, and even hinted that the former can be asked to take up the role in Australia.
“I personally feel Ajinkya (Rahane) has really held through his job as an opener, even in IPL he opens. He has been very consistent against both seamers and spinners. He should take the responsibility of being the opener. Ajinkya has opened for us in the past also in England earlier, not in the recent tour, before that,” Dhoni said.
“Ideally, Ajinkya as an opener and Rohit down the order suits us but that is something we will have to wait and watch. Definitely, we have some plans in that area. I still feel Ajinkya has much more to offer,” he added.
Insisting that death bowling is a “genuine concern”, Dhoni said India will need to address the dearth of a lethal pace attack before the Down Under tour and the World Cup.
“We have to get the executions right. We have to improve because we do not have too many fast bowlers who bowl quick and still maintain a good line and length. If you do not bowl quick and stray in line, it will be easy for a batsmen. Executing plans are not negotiable. Successful bowlers always bowl good yorkers and mix it up with slower deliveries,” the skipper said.
West Indies will be without the services of Sunil Narine in the series as he was dropped after the mystery spinner was reported for suspect action during the recent CLT20.
Dhoni, however, refused to buy the theory that India will have an advantage in the series because of Narine’s absence, and said it is time the ICC clamps down on offenders.
“What we need to see is what is right and what is wrong. If you do not have a proper, good action, you have slight advantage over other bowlers. Definitely what is legal should be allowed but at the same time, it is for the ICC to decide what is illegal. I feel no undue advantage should be given to anyone,” the India captain said.
“Definitely, I feel it is a good decision because if you do not clamp down now, you are unfair to other bowlers who have clean action. The concerned can get it cleared and come and play. We are not taking anybody’s name but generally it is important to clamp down on bowlers with illegal action.”
Asked about Kuldeep Yadav’s surprise inclusion in the team for the first three ODIs, Dhoni said the rookie left-arm spinner deserved to be tested at the international level following his impressive showing in the CLT20.
“We will see as to how he (Kuldeep) copes up with international cricket. What we saw in the Champions League Twenty20 was that being a wrist spinner he was getting a bit of purchase and still he has the knack of confusing the batsmen.
“We will see how he copes up with higher levels of cricket, how he soaks up the pressure in front of over 40,000 people,” he said.
With dew expected to play a part in tomorrow’s series opener, Dhoni said toss will be crucial.
“When we were practicing this morning we asked the groundsmen about the dew factor. In such cases the toss becomes vital. In the first innings if you are bowling there is not much dew. So the spinners can bowl a bit freely. If there is dew, toss will be crucial but will see how it is before start of the game,” he signed off.