ICC World Twenty20: Death-bowling India's prime concern, says Mahendra Singh Dhoni
India will begin their ICC World T20 campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in Mirpur on Friday. Ahead of the marquee clash, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni underlined his team's bowling concerns.
Underlining his bowling concerns, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday said they need to bowl well at the death and hoped that batsmen would give the bowlers more than the par score on board. (Read: India will be a different side with Dhoni's return, says Misbah)
India will begin their ICC World T20 campaign against arch-rivals Pakistan in Mirpur on Friday. (Read: India ready for stern test against Pakistan)
"Bowling is an area of concern compared to batting. Getting off to a good start is important as it will help us get 10 to 15 runs more than the par-score. Our aim will be to do well in death bowling and also bat well and we will have a good chance (in the tournament)," Dhoni said on the eve of the opening group league match tomorrow.
He said the likes Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar have not played a lot of T20 Internationals but the IPL experience will certainly come in handy for them.
"Agreed they haven't played a lot of T20 International cricket but the experience in IPL will help them a lot. We would want the bowlers to get one or two wickets with the new ball, their job will be much easier," Dhoni said.
While he was happy about Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina's performance, he was non-committal on sending Ajinkya Rahane up the order. (Read: Kohli, Raina set up 20-run win for India vs England in practice game)
"Overall, we have achieved a lot during the two practice games. The idea was to give the guys some fair time in the middle. Yuvi and Raina contributed in bowling."
About Rahane opening, he said, "That's under consideration. You will have to wait and watch."
The skipper agreed that presence of a few genuine all-rounders in the Pakistan team would help the rivals.
"Playing proper all-rounders always adds to the strength of a side. If you have players who are equally capable with bat and ball, one can play more than five bowlers and still have the same batting strength," the Indian captain opined.
Among the rival bowlers, pacer Umar Gul and wily spinner Saeed Ajmal came in for special praise from the Indian captain. (Pakistan players upbeat ahead of tournament opener against India)
"Umar Gul is a fantastic bowler. I remember during the 2007 ICC World T20, he would be introduced in the 11th or 12th over and bowl till the end. Having said that, they have other fast bowlers also, who are equally dangerous." (Pakistan must play fearless cricket against India, say ex-captains)
Dhoni conceded that it is difficult to score freely against mystery spinner Saeed Ajmal.
"Ajmal is a bowler against whom you can never score freely. It's also the manner how they have used him (Ajmal) to stop batsmen from scoring runs in the slog overs. They gave him an over in the first six (Powerplay) and then couple of overs in the middle. If you see on an average, all countries have had difficulties in facing Ajmal," Dhoni explained.
Having been clubbed with Pakistan, West Indies and Australia in the group makes an even tougher challenge and the skipper wants to win each and every game in order to ensure a smooth passage to the last four.
"We have to do well in each and every match. If you look at the last World T20 in Sri Lanka, we lost one match (vs Australia) and were knocked out of the tournament. It is a tough group. Also you have to realize that in this format, the difference between a good team and a not so good team is very less. I believe even they have the talent to upset big sides. It depends on what kind of cricket you play on that particular day," he added.
However, the captain said that Afridi's innings in the Asia Cup will have very little bearing on the match.
"No," was a mono-syllabic reply to the question on Afridi.
When someone queried as to what exactly he was doing when Afridi hit the winning six off Ashwin's bowling, Dhoni smiled and replied, "I was watching (the match) on television. Initially, I thought that the ball was going to the fielder but then I saw that it went for a six. It was an exciting match."
In a roundabout manner, a scribe queried if it's difficult for him to focus on his game considering what all is happening around him, he smilingly counter-questioned, "What all is happening around me? You tell me! Well, there's plenty that goes around you and irrespective of that you have to focus on your job. These things are a part and parcel of the game," he said.