India v SL, 2nd T20I, Ranchi February 12, 2016

'Will try to give Yuvraj more opportunities' - Dhoni


MS Dhoni was in a happy mood on and off the field after India's 69-run win © Associated Press

In a jovial press conference in his hometown of Ranchi, MS Dhoni joked about retirement questions, the absence of the helicopter shot, and perceived lack of batting opportunities for Yuvraj Singh, but on a serious note promised more of batting experiments like the promotion of Hardik Pandya. India beat Sri Lanka comfortably by 69 runs to square the three-match series, and Pandya hit 27 off 12 balls when sent in to bat at the score of 127 for 3 in the 15th over.

Dhoni was at his best when trying to explain the absence of the helicopter shot through analogies. First, he said a helicopter cannot fly in a submarine under water. The point was he was not getting the ball to hit that helicopter shot.

"If they bowl me bouncers, the only way I can play the helicopter shot is if I stand on a stool," Dhoni said.

Dhoni was more serious with Pandya's batting slot in this match. "It was an opportunity for him to see international cricket closely," Dhoni said. "This is what he is known for. He can go in and play the big shots straightaway. So in the coming games whenever we give some opportunity, we would like to give every player some kind of batting so that going into the T20 World Cup, everyone has some kind of exposure when it comes to batting.

"Bowling, everyone gets a chance to bowl. A lot of times you always experiment with bowling. What happens with batting is that you want to win games and you also want to give an individual a fair amount of time in the middle. It does not always go with the plan. Definitely in the coming games, if there is a chance of exposing someone to this kind of an exposure so that going into the T20 World Cup they know what their roles and responsibilities are."

Dhoni was back to joking momentarily when asked why Yuvraj was not getting a permanent slot. "Nobody thinks about me," he said. "I also keep going up and down."

It is a sensitive topic with Indian fans so Dhoni immediately went back to being serious. "But yes you are right," he said. "When a match starts, Yuvi is slotted in at No 5. It is difficult to get him to bat at a higher position than that. Because the top four - the openers, No. 3 is Virat Kohli, No. 4 is Suresh Raina. If you look at these four, their record in India and overseas is extraordinary. It becomes slightly difficult.

"Yes Yuvraj Singh is back in the team. We wish to give him more batting. But at the same time, since I have played with Yuvi a lot, I know it is difficult for him to go and straightaway start hitting in the 17th or 18th over. He's like a proper batsman who can hit.

"Okay, he can start early. Whenever he bats in the slog, he has found it difficult. We'll see how it goes. I will try to give him more opportunity in the upcoming games. But again we want to win games. That will also be our priority. We will see how it goes."

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • shyam on February 14, 2016, 10:53 GMT

    Yuvi is no longer a better option . He got the chance in 1st T20 but mearly 9 runs he made. He was very nerves while coming out for strike. Instead Yuvi, Negi will be a better option now.Yuvi was never comfortable on whatever situation he got.

  • Rahul on February 14, 2016, 7:50 GMT

    There is nothing left for Yuvi to prove...we are all aware of his skills...right now he is batting low down and in T20 bang bang, he has no choice. He clicks like the last Aus T20 it looks good but when he is not getting enough opportunity, people are already out with knives after him....ridiculous...give him time...confidence...let him bat above raina...position 4 or 5 can is not easy to come in 18-19th over and start hitting...remember he is making a comeback...we need to back him...he is the most popular player in India and the general masses...there is tremendous pressure to perform....wait u guys....he will be on song in the T20 world cup....that's the general public opinion

  • Saurav on February 13, 2016, 18:08 GMT

    @NS1000 Very rightly said. A genuine batsman Manish Pandey and Genuine bowler like fit Shami,Bhuvi,RP Singh is kept outside because of imaginations of Hardik PANDYA and Yuvi. Pandya is unable to bowl his 4 overs.neither he can bowl in death,in power plays,neither takes genuine wickets by creating pressure. No point in playing Pandya.Manish Pandey is sitting outside as Yuvi has to bowl due to inability of Pandya to bowl his 4 overs.

  • Saurav on February 13, 2016, 18:04 GMT

    @RAMAN KUMAR,Go and check your stats. See batting innings of Jadeja in Test series of SA. Be aware: In ODIs Kapil Dev 190 innings- 3700 runs,average 23.5, Jadeja 76 innings-1800 runs,avg 33. So don't ignore his batting. Ask for let give him proper batting chances by sending him up at 4 or 5.Negi should also be given chances to see what he can offer at international level.

  • Saurav on February 13, 2016, 18:00 GMT

    Why only Jadeja is ignored when it comes to giving batting opportunities by promoting at Number 4 or 5?

  • MehulG on February 13, 2016, 17:10 GMT

    WC is playing in sub-continent. If MSD/India want to win, then MSD must use slots as per match situation. Pandya should come to bat when spinners are on. If India lose 2 wickets before 14 overs, then sequence should be - Yuvi, Pandya, Raina, Dhoni, Jadeja. After 14th over if India have not lost two wickets then - Raina, Pandya, Dhoni, Jadeja, Yuvi is a better sequence. Yuvi can come at #4 or after #6 to play his role. Yuvi and Raina are not so strong against right-arm spinners but Pandya and Dhoni can go for powerful slogs. If spinner is left-arm orthodox then, go with Raina or Yuvi. Jadeja or Negi can be equally powerful if used in a right slots. Against pace bowling, I will suggest Raina in T20 and Yuvi in ODI.

  • Rohan on February 13, 2016, 17:08 GMT

    @SayakBhattacharyya the game of cricket is much bigger than Yuvraj, and winning games is bigger than giving yuvraj chances, the way Raina is batting how can you even think about changing his position to give chance to others, absurd logic, I dnt think Dhoni is going to play after T20 WC, so he is nt bothered abt the Yuvi , sehwag, harbhajan fans logic, Dhoni forever rocks

  • Anand Kumar on February 13, 2016, 16:41 GMT

    too much talk of yuvi but he had all the time needed in the last match... where did his batting skill go when team was struggling?

  •   Rashi Singh on February 13, 2016, 16:25 GMT

    wow most of indian cricket fans logic is absurd at best .many posts are recommending moving down an impact inform suresh raina to accomodate yuvraj at no,4.what a ridiculous logic.ur best t20 batters shud always bat up the order.raina is great no.3 but he is flexble enough to bat at 4 coz virat is supreme at 3..its a fact that yuvraj has to adjust with teams requirements and not vice versa.kohli n raina are ur best bets at no.3 and no,4..yuvi has to adjust for team cause n get going whenever he gets chance to bat .even yesterday raina got to bat in 14th over n still ended up scoring 30 off 19 balls.u cant keep pushing raina down at 5 or 6 coz yuvi n dhoni cant keep going straight away.

  • Sayak on February 13, 2016, 15:40 GMT

    I don't understand why can't Yuvi be given Raina's slot and vice versa? Everybody knows Raina can hit from the word go. So better try Yuvi at 4, Dhoni at 5 and Raina at 6. I think Raina is better suited to the no 6 slot than anybody in this team, even Dhoni.

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