ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News

India v West Indies, Group B, World Cup 2011, Chennai

Ashwin, Raina likely to play West Indies

Sharda Ugra in Chennai

March 19, 2011

Comments: 46 | Text size: A | A

The reception given to MS Dhoni at his pre-match media briefing before India's final group match at the World Cup reflected none of the heated arguments on in print or television, or even outside the media conference room at the MA Chidambaram Stadium. Rather than a barrage of unpleasant questions about captaincy, the Indian team's batting performance in Nagpur, Ashish Nehra's 50th over or R Ashwin's debut, the treatement could be described as cordial. "Happy Holi, Mahi," a reporter said, referring to the famous festival of colours that will spread across most of India over the weekend. Dhoni wished the reporter back warmly. When the question about the batting did turn up, Dhoni decided to leave the colourful quotes behind and tried splashing some whitewash over Nagpur.

Dhoni was asked whether there had been a thorough debrief after India lost their last nine wickets for 29 runs in their defeat to South Africa. He replied: "The beauty of our batting side is that you don't need to always pinpoint what went wrong or what needs to be done. The amount of experience we have got, the moment you commit a mistake you realise, okay, this is what exactly went wrong." What happened in Nagpur, he said did not "need to be addressed in a big way. Most of us have played over 100 games. But the better sides are the ones who do not repeat their mistakes in short intervals."

India's biggest mistakes in its two matches against top-flight teams - England and South Africa - he said, had been to take their foot off the pedal after the best of starts. "It's not only about how well you have started the game and how long you have dominated, you can't say you have won a game till it's over. It is a big learning and hopefully we won't repeat the same mistakes that have happened so far. We are human beings; we are always supposed to commit mistakes. Hopefully the interval between two will be long." All of India will be wishing that the interval would at least be longer than the next two weeks.

R Ashwin cools off in front of a vapouriser during India's training session, Chennai, March 16, 2011
R Ashwin is likely to get a game after cooling his heels for the previous group-stage matches © Associated Press

After being pretty tight-lipped about team selection through the tournament so far, Dhoni stuck his neck out this time, and said "everyone" on his team "would have played at least one game before the knockout stage." Translated that means that the two men who have not had a match so far, Suresh Raina and R Ashwin, will be in the XI on Sunday.

Dented reputation or not, what India still has is belief within the batting and the fact that the unit as a whole is "due". Their captain said so with emphasis. "Our seven batsmen have not fired at their best. If we get a really good day on the field with the batting department, we have the capabilities of putting huge totals on the board and it will definitely be a par plus score."

The question that produced the response was one about the batting. But, as if on autopilot, Dhoni produced a spontaneous, unsolicited comment on India's fielding, just in case anyone would slip the question in. "I do not see plenty of improvement in the fielding department. We are definitely not as good as some of the teams in the present World Cup but on our own we have shown that we are improving. Our good fielders are doing better every game and our safer fielders are getting better in each and every game."

Sunday's match would be the last game for India with a safety net of any kind - Bangladesh's loss on Saturday has guaranteed their path to the quarter-finals - yet an unconvincing performance against West Indies is, unlike one of India's practice sessions, not an option.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

RSS Feeds: Sharda Ugra


Comments: 46 
. Your ESPN name '' will be used to display your comments. Please click here to edit this.
Comments have now been closed for this article

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 20, 2011, 13:53 GMT)

Ashwin good start very economical and got a wicket early.

Posted by Subramanian on (March 20, 2011, 8:38 GMT)

Isnt it a sham that Ashwin & Raina are in the team not because they deserve but more so cos it is Ashwin's home ground and Raina is from Chennai Super Kings and ,well , all the 15 get to play at least a match in the league stage . My respect for Dhoni has all but gone . Dhoni should treat his teammates with respect .Ashwin & Raina playing this game somehow leaves a sour taste due to his shenanigans

Posted by Rickey on (March 20, 2011, 7:39 GMT)

Looking at the opponent in the second round, Team India will like to lose the match. Because no one would like to face Australia in the KO Stage.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 20, 2011, 7:29 GMT)

Well what MAHI told i agree to that when our batting will explode to the fullest we can put a total above par on score board. Also i feel that excluding Yusuf out of XI will put down his morale and he will stop playing openly as he is doing now. Batsman like Yusuf, Afridi dont perform consistently but they can blast off any moment for that purpose they are included in Squad. I will give 8/10 to Mahi Capatancy. Actually So called cricket expert in India are making thing worse for India. Altering the mindset of the team and influencing morale of Players..Its time for Cheers not for Pulling up their legs

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 20, 2011, 6:26 GMT)

drop singh and bring in ashwin....H Singh is not taking the wickets we need

Posted by Clara on (March 20, 2011, 6:05 GMT)

Hope Mr. Dhoni takes R Ashwin, Suresh Raina and Sreeshanth in the team and make them play in the interest of millions of fans and the country. I think Mr. Dhoni has lost his cool head.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 20, 2011, 6:03 GMT)

hahah! check out the pic of r ashwin! epic cooler! :D

Posted by Shriyan on (March 20, 2011, 6:01 GMT)

The mental condition of the team is very important. Are they prepared to play Australia by beating West Indies or Are they more prepared to play Sri Lanka after losing to West Indies.

Winning needs effort.

Your guess as good as mine.

Posted by Dummy4 on (March 20, 2011, 5:58 GMT)

The overhyped batting line up will be exposed.. and then dhoni can go back to shooting more ads.

Posted by Lalith on (March 20, 2011, 5:57 GMT)

India should win to avoid SL in QF. It is easy to beat Aussies in QF in India in front of home crowd. It is very tricky to face SL as SL is as good as SA.

Email Feedback Print
Sharda UgraClose
News | Features Last 3 days
  • No stories yet

World Cup Videos