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November 25, 2008
India have not named their XI for the fifth ODI in Cuttack, but captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said key players would be rested. What not to expect, according to Dhoni, is a drop in the intensity of the side that has won the series, with untried players looking to make an impression.
Batsman Virat Kohli, allrounder Irfan Pathan and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha are yet to get a game in the series, and Dhoni felt the team would be equally committed. "There will be few changes in the side tomorrow," he said. "But at the same time we have to keep up the commitment and intensity, though we have won the series 4-0.
"One of the reasons why the intensity will be up is because some of the players who are our bench strength will get a chance to play in the coming games. So they will want to perform and prove themselves. That will really help to keep the intensity up."
Not too many changes are on the cards, however. "It's not always that you lead a series 4-0. But we will not be making too many changes," Dhoni said. "Maybe one or two in batting and one in bowling department, so that we still play with our best team. It is tough to rest the in-form players but at the same time for the team's benefits you have to bring in few changes at an opportune moment like this."
While England chose to cancel their practice session in the morning on Tuesday - they had a team meeting instead - India had optional nets. Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel skipped the session. "We had an optional session. The guys who wanted to rest are back at hotel, spending sometime in the gym," said Dhoni. "At times, it helps. It's not always going onto the field and practising. Sometimes rest helps you more than a good session of practice."
The series may be won, but Dhoni felt the team could still improve. "As a team we want to improve in each and every department. It's a constant process," he said. "Everything right from batting, bowling, fielding and running between wickets has to be improved. You are never in a situation when you think that there's no scope for improvement."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Plays of the day from the fifth ODI in Ranchi
Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough