India v New Zealand, tri-series, 6th ODI, Dambulla August 24, 2010

Dhoni confident of batting revival


Despite two flop shows in the tournament, the Indian team's morale ahead of the crunch match against New Zealand seems to be pretty high. MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina were involved in a brief, fun game of tennis-ball cricket with some of the local net bowlers ahead of practice. There was plenty of banter between the Indian batsmen and the bowlers during the nets, mostly debating whether a particular shot would have cleared an imaginary fielder or not.

There was serious training as well. Gary Kirsten had one-on-one chats with several of the young batsmen after giving them throw-downs in the nets, pointing out chinks in technique. For Monday's optional session, 12 members of the side turned up, instead of the usual half a dozen or so.

"I think the preparation has been very good," Dhoni, the India captain, said. "Hopefully execution will also be good tomorrow."

With Dambulla's pitches different in character to the usual subcontinental tracks, Dhoni stressed the need to be watchful at the start of the innings. "It's more about the mindset because in one-day cricket you're so used to going after and hitting the bowlers right from the first delivery," he said. "[Usually if you] give respect to the bowlers for the first 10 overs, the next 40 overs are yours. This is one of those venues where you have to prolong the respect for bowlers by another 10 overs."

India folded for 88 and 103 in two matches, sandwiching a victory crafted by a Virender Sehwag special, but Dhoni wasn't overly worried about the batting. "I won't be bothered too much," he said. "But if it's said that this is the batting strength of our side, I won't agree with that. One thing we can't deny is that we have had two batting failures and we have to rectify the problem, get on the wicket and try to score some runs."

In both defeats, the loss of wickets led to a near halt in the scoring: after losing the third wicket against Sri Lanka, India made 13 runs in seven overs, while the corresponding number in the opening game against New Zealand was six runs in five overs. Dhoni called for a more enterprising approach. "Most of the batsmen are trying to battle through and there are times when you can't do that. If you get eight or 10 runs off five overs, it doesn't really help you. You have to be brave enough to play your big shots or challenge the bowler. You have to keep speculating and you have to try and make a way through the opposition."

Rohit Sharma is one batsmen having a horrid time, rarely looking comfortable at the crease all tournament, but he got a vote of confidence from his captain. "It's a tricky situation for him," Dhoni said. "There's pressure when you are always in and out of the side. Especially on these wickets. Unfortunate to get out once when he didn't get the umpire's decision in his favour. He is working hard and his fitness has improved a lot."

Wasim Akram reportedly called some of the Indian youngsters 'softies', a charge Dhoni denied. "They have done really well in adverse and difficult conditions. Whether it's in Australia or the T20 World Cup or some of the other tournaments where we were not at our best," Dhoni said. "I think the guys are courageous enough to go through any conditions or situations thrown at them. We are just on the back foot right now, with the conditions maybe. But these are the boys who will ultimately be part of the Indian cricket team now or sometime later."

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on August 27, 2010, 4:52 GMT

    I definitely agree with swarup.whats the misunderstanding made dhoni for him.why ravindra jadeja,why not uthappa or irfan pathan.jadeja has been flopped through out his carrier.In 8-9 matches only once he might have scored 50 and he gets in.where as uthappa has been so tremendous through out all most all the IPL matches and also in other.whats wrong with you dhoni.i am quite unhappy with both selection team as well as dhoni.

  • laddum on August 26, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    Dhoni is missing a point that this very team is not able to make in SWEET 16 is last T20 World cups. Which T20 performances is he talking about. Akram is right this are bunch of softies who despite knowing the weeknessess of not able to play PULL SHOT are not able to deal with it.

  • dummy4fb on August 25, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    India == Shewag +100 If u get shewag out early >>>> you win... It's as simple as that at the moment...

  • LALITHKURUWITA on August 25, 2010, 12:04 GMT

    I think India is batting well Shewrag hit 110 off 93. They scored 207/9 (more than 80 +103) Looking forward how Black Caps are smashed.

  • dummy4fb on August 25, 2010, 11:16 GMT

    What India needs is a sheet anchor who can face fast bowlers. Rohit, Yuvraj, Raina, Virat et al don't cut it. This Indian middle orders makes the pedestrian NZ bowlers look like Holding and Lillee. Rahul Dravid or Laxman merit that role in conditions like these. Also, Sehwag needs to become more of Tendulkar now and keep his pure aggression only to Test matches.

  • AvidCricFan on August 25, 2010, 10:56 GMT

    I still don't understand why Indian selectors persist with flat wicket bullies like Karthik. At best, he is an average talent. The same can be said of Rohit Sharma. It does not matter what talent he has as long as he does not know how apply his talent. The mighty Indian team is putting foward another pathetic performance against NZ.

  • dipym on August 25, 2010, 10:37 GMT

    This team will lose this match to day by all means,they do not have consistency, zahir,pathan etc are to be called back, nehra is batsman friendly bowler, if this very team will go to world cup2011,they will repeat 2007's performance, 100% dipym

  • Jaggadaaku on August 25, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    Abey Dhoni, Sehwag ke alaawa koi 10 runs ke upar bhi banata nahi hai aur tum kaise yeh keh sakte ho be? R Sathish and Saurabh Tiwari are included in the team but during whole series they just sat out side on the bench. Without Sachin and Sehwag you all are nothing but selling garbage products in India. You confident on Batting Revival-my foot. You go back to India and sell your stupid and bogus products. You never become Kapil and rescue your team when top order collapse in few runs. Your favorite batsman-Yuvraj plays worse than Canadian batsmen. Karthik, Rohit, and Raina failed in all the matches of the series, but you didn't give any chance to Tiwari and Sathish. So, with the same failed batting line up, how can you confident on batting revival? Sri Lanka is just the dot on the world's map, and compare to India, Sri Lanka is 1000 times smaller than India, but They are 1000 time stronger than India. You guys only and only good for talk before the match.

  • LALITHKURUWITA on August 25, 2010, 10:13 GMT

    Shewrag 52 out of 72. Can somebody stay in the other end until 50 overs finished. I am doubt.

  • Karzz on August 25, 2010, 10:03 GMT

    I think that Sachin, Zaheer & Bhajji are the big Idiots because they doesn't ready to play for india, But they are ready to play Champions League for their Franchises. They r the lofers, I think this is the plan of sachin to not playing the Bhajji and Zaheer in the Tri Series because of his Team qualifying for the ACL T20. This is the Ridiculous attitude of the Blady master. Sachin dont have the respect for the nation. If he had he himself available for the Tri Series. We had just 6-7 months to a Very Big Tournament like World Cup in our own Den but these lions are still sleeping. I dont have faith in these lions pls bring back Bengal Tiger Sourav Ganguly,The Wall Rahul Dravid and The Jumbo Anil Kumble they far better than these bleady fools.

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