World Twenty20 2009 May 29, 2009

'Fatigue is a part of Indian cricket' - Dhoni

Cricinfo staff

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Zaheer not fully fit yet - Dhoni
  • MS Dhoni has said that India's pace spearhead Zaheer Khan hasn't yet recovered from the shoulder injury he picked up during the IPL earlier in the month. "Zaheer is not 100% fit now, but I am hopeful he will be available for our first match," Dhoni said before the team's departure to England.
  • India open their campaign on June 6, against Bangladesh in Trent Bridge, and Zaheer has a couple of chances to test his fitness before that, in the warm-up games - against New Zealand on June 1 and Pakistan on June 3.
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MS Dhoni, the captain of the Indian team which is defending the World Twenty20 title, has admitted that his players were tired after the IPL, but also said the hectic schedule was something his team was used to.

"When you play so many matches you do get tired, after all it's a human body. There was no time to rest for the players. But fatigue is a part of Indian cricket. Till now Indian players have done well with it."

Sachin Tendulkar, Gary Kirsten and Dilip Vengsarkar, the former chairman of selectors, have all spoken out against the packed schedule, saying the players could suffer injuries and be mentally fatigued. The 37-day IPL ended on May 24, and there's only a 11-day gap before the start of the World Twenty20, raising concerns about players not getting sufficient time to rest.

However, Dhoni also said the IPL had helped prepare for the tournament in England. "It [IPL] helped us a lot in terms of exposure and skills. So it was more beneficial for us."

Looking ahead to the tournament, Dhoni said the presence of so many part-time bowlers in the Indian squad was a huge advantage. "We have Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh who have taken hat-tricks in the IPL. We also have Suresh Raina. Yusuf Pathan is there too," Dhoni said on the eve of the team's departure to England.

"We have someone like Ravindra Jadeja with limited international experience but with high talent. He has played against some top fast bowlers and spinners in the IPL and has learned to handle pressure."

Dhoni also said the poor form of his openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag did not worry him. Gambhir scored 286 runs from 15 games and Sehwag 198 from 11 in the IPL. "Both the openers are very talented. As regards opening bowling combination we have not yet decided who will do it. You have seen spinners too opening the bowling in the IPL. Teams have to take gambles."

India will play two warm-up games - against New Zealand on June 1 and Pakistan on June 3 - before their opening game of the World Twenty20 against Bangladesh on June 6. The proceeds from their practice game against Pakistan will go towards the aid of those who were injured or lost their lives when the Sri Lankan team bus was attacked by militants in Lahore in March.

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