ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v Ireland, Group B, World Cup 2011, Bangalore

India to pick bowling attack based on opposition

Liam Brickhill in Bangalore

March 5, 2011

Comments: 73 | Text size: A | A

The last three days have given MS Dhoni plenty to think about. Kevin O'Brien's inspirational innings against England means a wary India will be taking no chances against the plucky Ireland side in Bangalore, while the reaction of irate Bangladesh fans after their team's humiliating loss to West Indies will surely have stirred memories for India's captain.

West Indies' team bus was struck by stones as they travelled back from their match against Bangladesh in Mirpur, while the Daily Star also reported that a few fans on motorbikes threw stones at Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan's Magura home, leaving a window-pane broken. Dhoni's own home in Ranchi had been targeted in a similar manner, amid a wave of effigy-burning, by angry Indian fans after India's loss to Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup.

"I think yesterday they missed the Bangladesh bus, because that's what they were waiting for," he joked, before taking on a far more serious tone. "It's unfortunate, but in the subcontinent that's how the fans react. They should remember it's not the players living in that [Shakib's] home right now, it's the family members and they don't have anything to do with cricket. You have to control your emotions.

"[As fans] you have to back the players. You need backing when you're not doing well because when you're winning games and everybody's with you, the emotions, the expectation level, the appreciation, everything is there. But the real fans of cricket will be with you when you're not doing well, when you are a bit low, when the team is not doing well, those are the real fans of cricket. Others, they just follow the wins of the team; whenever they are winning they are big fans of cricket."


MS Dhoni bats during a bet session, World Cup, Bangalore, March 2, 2011
MS Dhoni says he was never going to take Ireland lightly as he has already experienced losing to an underdog © AFP
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A successful Indian team has had no such worries in this tournament so far, giving their legions of supporters plenty to celebrate even though their match against England ended in a tie. But if there had been any chance, at the beginning of the World Cup, that their encounter with Ireland might have been seen as an opportunity to experiment and rest key players, such thoughts were vanquished by the events of Wednesday night.

"I've never said there's any weaker side in the World Cup, because if you have very fond memories of getting beaten by Bangladesh in 2007 then you won't commit that mistake," Dhoni said on the eve of the Ireland clash.

"For every team it depends on that particular day. There are individuals in every side who can play big innings, score at an amazing strike rate of 150 or 200, and that can really change the course of the game. So the preparation level remains the same and the intensity should be the same as when we play any other side."

Dhoni admitted to being impressed by Kevin O'Brien's "unbelievable" knock, and glad that he had been a spectator to it rather than being on the receiving end. "We really enjoyed O'Brien's innings. It was not against us, so as a spectator you can enjoy each and every hit. We enjoyed every bit of his batting and the Ireland innings.

"Right from the very start he went after the bowlers but it was really impressive to see him change gears at the end because that's what was needed at that point. As far as strategies [against him] are concerned, every day is different so accordingly you have to plan for how a batsman is playing. But he got run out, so we'll try to get him run out in this game also."

A full-strength XI is a virtual certainty against a buoyant Ireland side who will be backing themselves to secure another major scalp, and Dhoni suggested that India would stick to the batting-heaving line-up as that is where their main strength lies.

"You should always back your strength, that's the most important part. Tomorrow we don't want to feel 'Okay now we would have been better off with seven batsmen', and maybe you score 30-odd runs less and you find yourself in a place where there's not enough runs on the board. We'll be more inclined to play with seven batters, of course Yusuf [Pathan] and Yuvraj [Singh] can also bowl and be the fifth bowler for the side."

With four slots remaining for the bowlers, the question for India will be which combination of spin and seam to play: three seamers and one specialist spinner, or two of each? If two spinners are included, will it be R Ashwin or Piyush Chawla who partners Harbhajan Singh?

Dhoni did not let on what India's plans were, but did defend his bowlers for leaking 338 runs in the game against England, saying the Bangalore wicket was flat. "We played against England with a two-two combination. Some people may say it didn't really affect the opposition but what we are saying is the wicket is behaving in a better way under the lights. What we have seen is that it's not a seamer-friendly wicket and as the game progresses by evening it comes on very nicely to the bat - there's no extra pace for the fast bowlers."

Dhoni suggested India's bowling combination might change from game to game depending on the opposition. "If there's plenty of left-handers in the opposition side then you may be inclined to play one more offspinner. Both Yusuf and Harbhajan are offspinners and both of them have bowled well. If the opposition are not very good at picking the wrong one from the legspinner then you are inclined to play Piyush Chawla.

"Piyush just gives you that variation of the bowler who can take it away and also has the wrong one. And you already have Harbhajan and Yusuf to bowl offspin. Ashwin has done exceptionally well for us whenever he has played and he has bowled in the first 10 overs also, but you just pick the one that may be most suitable for that particular game."

Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN EMEA Ltd.

Comments: 73 
Posted by Sagay-Ed on (March 7, 2011, 7:08 GMT)

Dhoni at his best. He is not letting anyone/anything else to influence the team changes. India chased in a traditional manner and won the match. Absolutely risk free, apart from the knock of Yousuf. :) India is surely one of the world cup favourites. Job well done.... :)

Posted by Trident on (March 6, 2011, 16:41 GMT)

again piyush chawla disappointed... need some serious changes in the bowling

Posted by monis11 on (March 6, 2011, 8:34 GMT)

who is going to take wickets at the beginning? Try Aswin with new ball

Posted by Pratik_vodka on (March 6, 2011, 8:34 GMT)

I think its a ridiculous argument whether to play Ashwin or Piyush Chawla. A captain should always pick a player on which he has the most confidence and not what a fan or a so called expert thinks. He is the man leading his side on the field and at that moment should not have any second thoughts or doubts. Dhoni has done well and better than most captains in past.Lets back the man, yes we are disappointed with our bowling at the moment, yes they havnt bowled particularly well, but we cannot do much about it other than giving them confidence. They cannot learn new skills in a weeks time, now can they.All we can as Supporters as the word suggest support and not become from supporters to advisers.Dhoni said fielding much cant be done about it, which he clearly meant for the current WC, and that is true. We have to play 7 batsman, its the fact that we have 7 is what helps our top order to play the way they do. Do the best you can winning and loosing is secondary show us the FIGHT thats all

Posted by rsurya on (March 6, 2011, 8:24 GMT)

Hey dhoni its not bcoz of bowlers its bcoz of field setup u made.......

Posted by monis11 on (March 6, 2011, 8:15 GMT)

tough for Dhoni to pick his bowlers. Medium pacers are not good for 10 overs so as the part timers. Zaheer / Bhajji are not into grooves. Expected better shows from munaf. Yuvraj is doing ok, he is releasing some balls capable for taking wickets. Yusuf- again poor show with balls. Sachin & Viru is not bowling adds to situation. Zaheer can be rested today. Try Aswin in the team he is good in powerplays to take wickets.

Posted by zaheer20 on (March 6, 2011, 8:03 GMT)

All indian seamers are average bowler. We can't depend on our fast bowlers whether he is zaheer/nehra/munaf/sreesanth or else. They will be punished any time.

Posted by FAB_ALI on (March 6, 2011, 7:32 GMT)

PLEASE....PLEASE ..... PLEASE GET RID OF CHAWLA FROM THIS LINE UP, PLEASE. PLAY ASHWIN OR NEHRA.

Posted by araohr on (March 6, 2011, 7:13 GMT)

Hey Dhoni, take ashwin in the upcoming matches. All the indian fans know he is a champion bowler. He made u win IPL, CLT and New zeland series(Highest wicket taker). Show interest in him and groom him. Dont go with one performance of Piyush. Piyush can be taken as an ally of Ashwin , but not at the cost of Ashwin. After Bajji, he has the potential to become great. In the era of batting giants, his performance is far too good.

Posted by cantwaittosee on (March 6, 2011, 7:00 GMT)

And I also think if India want to play a second spinner, it should be Ojha.

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