India v England, 1st ODI, Rajkot November 13, 2008

Powerplay changes will be interesting - Dhoni

Cricinfo staff

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Pitch will favour seamers early
  • Dhoni said the Rajkot pitch looked soft and unlikely to break.
  • Dhiraj Parsana, the BCCI's West Zone curator-in-charge, said the pitch is expected to assist seamers for the first hour and a half. "We have left some grass on it and there would be some sweating under the covers before the 9am start," Parsana said. "We have tried to see that there is good carry for the bowlers throughout. If I was India captain I would field first on winning the toss as the team has the bowlers to exploit the conditions in the first hour or so." India will miss fast bowler Ishant Sharma, out of the match because of an ankle sprain, in such conditions.
  • "It would be good for the stroke-makers too as more shots can be played on the back foot rather than when they are forced to play on the front foot on wickets that afford only knee-high bounce," Parsana said.
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Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the Indian captain, has said the new Powerplay rules, where the batting side decides five overs that will be part of the fielding restrictions, will pose interesting challenges to the two sides.

"It means when you plan a few strategies on the ground, suddenly you find the opposition asking about the five overs," Dhoni said.

"You have to be ready for it. It's very tough to say anything right now, how much it will help the side batting first or second.

"We can see a few games and see what is really happening. But they say chasing will be easier if you have a good partnership and you can take it after that. It is really confusing right now."

India come to the series three days after winning the four-Test series against Australia 2-0 and Dhoni said switching from Tests to ODIs in such a short time was a challenge but one that was part of an international cricketer's career.

"One of the good things is that half the side hasn't played the Test series," Dhoni said. "It's good right now. But I have played Test cricket as well as one-day series, it is quite difficult to switch over to one-day mode but as I said we are international cricketers. We are professionals."

Only five players - Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir - from the Test squad will be playing in Rajkot.

Dhoni said the series was not about one captain outsmarting the other, but one team outwitting the other. "If we lose a few games, we shouldn't be feel so low. We will win some and lose some but we will always have to be positive frame of mind."