Dhoni hints at playing seven batters against Pakistan

Updated: 25 September 2009 13:46 IST

India captain MS Dhoni indicated that he would play seven batsmen in their much-anticipated Group A match against Pakistan on Saturday.

Dhoni hints at playing seven batters against Pakistan

Centurion:

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday indicated that he would play seven batsmen in their much-anticipated Group A match against Pakistan on Saturday as the composition of the side does not allow him to field five bowlers.

"The balance of our side doesn't encourage it (five bowlers). It's tough to play with just six batters for if you lose early wickets, it's difficult to make a comeback," said Dhoni on the eve of the match.

Incidentally, the Centurion pitch is a flat wicket unlike the lively South African pitches and during the first two games it has offered susbstantial turn to the slower bowlers.

It had prompted Dhoni to think about playing leg-spinner Amit Mishra on Saturday along with Harbhajan Singh, but he said with inujries ruling two of his senior batsmen out of the tournament, he cannot afford to weaken his batting line up.

"I personally would like to play Amit Mishra but the balance of our side doesn't encourage it. We need a bowling allrounder. The only time we could play five bowlers was in Australia (in 2007)," he said.

Another factor, which is worrying the India skipper ahead of tomorrow's high-profile encounter, is the lack of choices in his bowling department.

"In the last few weeks we have lost three of our five part-time bowling options. Virender Sehwag is missing and so is Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh," Dhoni said.

Dhoni also said the team would miss Yuvraj in the middle-order and it would be hard for anyone to fill his vaccum.

"Yuvraj more often than not capitalises on second powerplay. He bats aggressively and is a free-strok player.

"In his absence, the role of other batsmen can change. At the moment it's difficult to say who would fill his shoes. It also depends on the kind of start you've got. Ideally you like to hold on to wickets for a late assault on bowling," he said.

"We do keep assessing scores at periodic intervals of say first 20 overs and then 34 overs. We do have quite a few batsmen who can take advantage of powerplays," he added.

Dhoni also lauded his Pakistani counterpart Younus Khan's decision to play on Saturday with a fractured hand.

"To have such a determination is laudable but you also have to see if your injury is not a hindrance to team's fortunes. Afterall you don't want to go in a match with just 10 players," he said.

Happy with the fact that India would be playing their opening two games in friendly Centurion conditions, Dhoni said India-Pakistan rivalry is just like any other rivalry between two sides.

"India, in a way, is lucky that it is playing it's first two games at a venue which is more suited to it's kind of play. I won't say we are lucky, it's a destiny. This wicket, compared to Wanderers, looks better suited for one-day cricket,"Dhoni said.

"There is a big rivalry (between India and Pakistan) but then it's against any side you turn up on a cricket field. You want to win against all teams on a cricket field.

"Of course there could be more intensity and aggression. But at the end of the day you are playing the same cricket you play everyday," the wicketkeeper batsman added.

Topics : Cricket Sreesanth
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