India v Pakistan, World T20, Group 2, Dhaka March 20, 2014

Raina and Yuvraj major boosts - Dhoni


Suresh Raina and Yuvraj Singh's performances in the practice matches were major boosts for India ahead of the World T20, MS Dhoni has said. Yuvraj was left out for the tour of New Zealand while Raina was dropped midway through that series. Both players were also ignored for the Asia Cup. While Dhoni pointed out bowling as the familiar area of concern, he said he was happy with what India had taken out of the warm-ups.

"Overall we have achieved a lot, especially through the practice games we wanted to give the guys who were not part of the Asia Cup a fair time in the middle and I was quite happy with the way Yuvraj and Raina performed," Dhoni said. "They batted well. Raina has also contributed with his bowling. Whatever we wanted to achieve from the practice games we have achieved that. It looks set but still there are quite a few areas where we will have to improve when it comes to a proper game because you won't really have the luxury of playing 15 players.

"The bowling department is still an area of concern if you compare it to our batting. Getting off to a good start, that is something that is really important for us. If we have wickets in hand we have seen in the past that we can score maybe 10-15 runs more than what can be a par score. In a short format like this, 10-15 runs really matter. Apart from that, the fielding has been good. Overall if we do well in the death bowling and bat well throughout we have a very good chance."

Three of the four fast bowlers in the India squad have never played a T20 international while Bhuvneshwar Kumar has featured in only three. Dhoni thought their exposure in the IPL would be of assistance, and said he wanted them to strike with the new ball. "If you talk about international T20s, our fast bowlers have not played much. But they have spent a lot of time in the IPL where the conditions are a bit similar so I think to some extent that will help.

"Overall when it comes to contribution, we would want them to bowl well with the new ball. If we can get one-two wickets with the new ball, it is considered a good start. Especially in this format if you keep getting regular wickets, the opposition is not able to score too freely. We will try to take wickets with the new ball and then they will come on and bowl the last few overs maybe, so not very different from what the job is for the fast bowlers for some of the other teams."

Dhoni said every match would be crucial to India's chances in the World T20, as they had failed to make the semi-finals of the previous edition in 2012 after losing just one match, to Australia. "What is important is to do well in each and every game. Last T20 World Cup we lost just one game in the qualifying round and were not able to make it to the knockout stages. Especially our group, it is a tough group. "

When asked how he would manage to focus on his own performance and that of his side amid the allegations against him swirling around in parts of the media back home, Dhoni said it was "part and parcel" of Indian cricket. "You have to keep your focus. Especially when you are part of the Indian cricket team, there are plenty of things that go around you so irrespective of whether you are doing well or not so well on the field, so I think it is a big part and parcel of Indian cricket. I think most of the players are quite used to it."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on March 21, 2014, 16:56 GMT

    Raina and Yuvraj is awesome in field....

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2014, 13:40 GMT

    @Dnivra_the_noil: I completely agree with you on all the points except Rahane for Opening. I think he has been given only one match to prove his opening and that he did well. Again Rohit keeps on disappointing me as well, an extremely talented on but not mentally very good.

    @Browndynamite7: Irfan Pathan has just recovered from injury and played few Vijay Hazare trophy matches, in the first few he did not bowl either. SO he is not fully fit to be in the squad and Does not have enough match practise.

    For me the best team right now is: 1. Dhawan 2. Rahane 3. Kohli 4. Rohit 5. Raina 6. Dhoni 7. Jadeja 8. Ashwin 9. Mishra 10. Bhuvi 11. Shami

    Also Shami needs to be rested if the situation are like dead rubber otherwise he will start to get long term injuries as of Zaheer and other bowlers need to be given chances. One more player needs to be given chance in T20 is rajat bhatia. He is proven player in this kind of format. I really hope he is in team in coming future

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2014, 11:44 GMT

    Why Indian Selectors stick with same team and why we can't select players on their performance in australia they pick the one who is playing well and drop the one who is not playing well and it doesn't matter whether he is popular senior or close friend of captain.(like Raina ) I mean look at his stats yaar. and the last thing is our homework in asia cup Mohd. Hafiz Lbw Shikhar Dhawan in same fashion to his last match when sri lankan off spinner got him out. like that we all know that shami is better with old ball (after getting reverse swing ) except it he has only some pace. Bhuwi is keen to deliver good length delivery which is better in start not getting too much runs but at last he is getting more runs and our slog overs bowling become a nightmare.

    last but not least if India want to be No. 1 in world he has to work hard on every aspect of cricket like

    1. Fast Bowling :- left arm and right arm 2. Spin :- Leg spinner and Off Spinner 3. Two Pair of Opening Batsman 4. Batsman

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2014, 11:28 GMT

    @Raghav Galgali - Before adding DK's name to your list, you should be reminded that India could not make to to the finals of the Asia Cup just because of Dinesh Karthik. Messed up easy stumpings against both Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

  • sandeep on March 21, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    i couldn't understand why dhoni not giving ball to yuvraj,sure that dhoni did not want yuvraj taking wickets.

  • Dummy4 on March 21, 2014, 9:26 GMT

    Don't know why MSD sticks to only one team.I have seen MISHRA in the team only when VK captains the team......It seems he does not have confidence in STR BINNY,I PANDEY , AM MISHRA or CA PUJARA..... B KUMAR, MHD SHAMI, ASHWIN, S DHAWAN, RG SHARMA ,RA JADEJA they all are not in form because they have not got enough breaks., DK PARTHIV PATEL, AMBATI RAYUDU ROBIN UTHAPPA, SANJU SAMSON, CM GAUTAM, yhey all are talented enough to represent INDIA. Their place is taken by MSD just because of greater hitting.I know he and VK are the only ones who are mature enogh to captain but even SA keeps AB DE as the captain and DE COCK as the WICKET-KEEPER. Even India can opt such a strategy

  • KISH on March 21, 2014, 7:28 GMT

    @heartyCricketer, International cricket is a lot about pressure. One has to read the situation properly and exploit the pressure situations. Then, Aaron will appear as good as Malcolm Marshal. Aaron's pace can be very useful at certain situations. Use him when the situation comes. You have to give him chances to prove anything. One poor match doesn't make him bad. How many times have Indian supporters were wishing there was a pace bowler to counter certain situation?. Part-timers are there. But, there's a reason why they are part-timers. There is no point in bolstering the batting line-up when all you have is 20 overs to play. I can't even believe people having too many strategies for this format. The pitch wear, ball getting old etc doesn't really affect this format. India won the first World Cup because India played with more bowlers when the other teams were strengthening their batting instead. Honestly, I think India should open batting with one specialist and a tail-ender

  • Sinoy on March 21, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    I still don't understand why Irfan Pathan isn't in the side, especially for T20, he has been exceptional in the IPL and he had a great international career, his ability to swing the ball, good pace and hitting hard down the order would benefit india very much especially as most of our fast bowlers are inexperienced in thernational T20's. The indian selectors and Dhoni really need to stop being so cautious and take some risks, the indian fans would be alright with a few losses if it meant we could create the best indian team possible.

    India T20 XI:

    Dhawan, Rahane, Kohli, Yuvi, Raina, Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Jadeja, Ashwin, Mishra, Shami

    Indian ODI XI:

    Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rahane, Rhohit, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Mishra, Bhuvi, Shami

    Indian Test XI:

    Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni, Irfan Pathan, Jadeja, Ashwin, Mishra/ Bhuvi, Shami

  • Arvind on March 21, 2014, 6:45 GMT

    People calling for Dhawan's head, take a chill pill guys. We all want that excitement at the top of the order. We were all used to Sehwag and he came with his own mindset which we marveled when he clicked and loathed when he didn't. IMHO, Dhawan is a more refined version of Sehwag. But it still comes with those risks that we associated with Sehwag. Atleast the guy doesn't hit out mindlessly like Sehwag used to do at times. Give him his space, he will work on the weaknesses (unlike Sehwag ever attempted) and become better. The strike rate will remain same as Sehwag's. Give him time. And he's not been such a flop either... And Rohit, well..... I want to support him but he keeps giving me reasons not to. One thing I am convinced however, is that Rahane is not an answer to our opening woes. Maybe Pujara is the better alternative if we have to look beyond Rohit. But only in ODIs.

  • Jerin Raj on March 21, 2014, 6:15 GMT

    Indian players are Well played in warmup games, SK Raina and Yuvi can change the game.All the best to Indian players...

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