A major reason for India's recent Test series defeat in Australia was the batsmen's failure to protect their wickets. India lost the first two Tests at Adelaide and Brisbane purely due to batting collapses, an ailment that had plagued the team during their Test series in England last summer. Chief coach Duncan Fletcher feels that this is one area India will have to address during the tri-nation ODI series. India play their first match against Australia in Melbourne on Sunday. (Dhoni Gears up For Title Defence, Has World Cup Final in Sight)
In the last eight overseas Test matches India have played, there have been at least five horrible batting order collapses. India managed to save the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne and the fourth and final match at Sydney purely due to some dogged batting by the tail but that's not enough. Fletcher says shot selection remains a big concern ahead of the World Cup. (Dhoni Mum on Shock Test Retirement)
"It's good to see almost all the batsmen among runs, especially that outstanding performance by Virat (Kohli). He has also done well in Australia in ODIs and I hope that continues. He is such a positive individual and has a very positive influence on the side. (Kohli Should Have Say in Choosing Next India Coach: Jones)
"The other batsmen, at times, have shown good form. The one area they need to work on is their risk assessment. In the Test matches, at times, I felt like they got themselves out. Now they need to understand what shots are on in certain situations. That will be one important aspect for us to work on in the tri-series," Fletcher told www.bcci.tv.
India will clearly use the tri-series as a preparation for the World Cup. India will have some advantages. The core of the Test and ODI team remains the same and most players have got used to the playing conditions over the two-and-a-half months they have been in Australia. India begin their World Cup campaign in Adelaide against Pakistan on February 15. Winning the tri-nation tournament may not be the ultimate aim. (India, Pakistan Get New Kits Before World Cup)
"There's no doubt that we want to win it because it will give us a huge momentum and confidence boost going into the World Cup. We also want to try out some things that we might do in the World Cup, because by the time we get there, we want to be settled," Fletcher said. The World Cup will be Fletcher's last assignment with Team India. (New Jersey Will Erase Distractions)
One of India's challenge will be to keep the lead bowlers fresh. The two bowlers in the tri-series who are not part of the World Cup squad -- Dhawal Kulkarni and Mohit Sharma -- will be used to give those who played the Tests a bit of rest. (Dhoni's cool attitude makes India a hot World Cup prospect: Fletcher)
"This is where we've got to be smart. We still want those main bowlers to learn and be ready to be able to bowl in one-day conditions with the white ball. At the same time we don't want to over-bowl before the World Cup," said Fletcher.