NAGPUR: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, on Tuesday, ruled out the possibility of batting up the order, saying there is no vacant slot for
him in top four positions.
“It’s a difficult choice to make. We have Viru (Virender Sehwag) and Sachin (Tendulkar) opening the innings, Gauti (Gautam Gambhir) at no. 3 and Yuvraj at no 4. The next slot available is no. 5,” Dhoni said ahead of the second One-dayer against Australia on Wednesday.
“I float at times and bat at different slots. More often than not we have a fixed batting line when it comes to these four guys playing the game. If there are more off spinners in the attack we may shift Yuvraj to no. 5 and we have done that. But to say I have to bat every time at no. 3 or 4 is difficult for me (to do),” he said.
Earlier in the day, former Australia wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist said that he would like to see Dhoni bat up the order, which would enable him to play as many overs as possible.
Dhoni also said that death bowling continues to remain a major concern for him and would like to see his bowlers conceding lesser runs in the final overs.
“It’s been a worrying thing for us for the past few months. We had not been great with out death bowling. If you see the last game, the first few overs – 42nd over onwards – it was good and in the 50th we gave away one run”, he said.
“In between there was a span of four overs when we gave away 50-52 runs. If we can bring that down good, say by two to five runs it can count at the end,” the wicketkeeper batsman said.
The India skipper also said that he was not too concerned about injury scares of the visitors, who will miss James Hopes, Brett Lee and possibly Mitchell Johnson in Wednesday’s encounter.
“When we came for the practice sessions, we had a few areas we needed to work on. We concentrated on that. We are quite specific with death bowling and new ball bowling. We are concentrating on areas that can affect us in a direct way.
“(Am) Not really worried about that (their injuries). They have a squad of 15,” he said.
The Indian captain said the team would have a look at the amount of dew fall tonight and decide on the composition of the side for Wednesday’s tie.
“Looks like a good wicket. There is a little bit of grass cover that will help in binding the wicket. I don’t see too much of a change in the condition of the wicket (through the match). Dew will be a factor, but (by) how much we will see at 8.30 tonight and accordingly decide (on the team composition),” he said.
Dhoni also backed out-of-form Harbhajan Singh and said he has the full support of the team and was confident that the off-spinner would bounce back strongly.
“He’s an experienced bowler. He’s not bowling at his best but is still bowling well. Everyone goes through such a patch. The kind of individual he is, he always bounces back and loves changes.
“We have confidence in him. He’s batting well but we would like to see him bowling better than what he’s doing but we are not too much worried about that,” he said.
He welcomed Yuvraj Singh’s return to the squad after recovering from the finger injury sustained in South Africa just before the commencement of the Champions Trophy and pointed out that the left-hander offers him the choice of an extra part-time bowler in the playing eleven.
“Yuvi has been the backbone of our batting at no 4. It’s an important slot, as important as no. 3 is. Especially with the second Power Play coming in, you have some time to settle down once the ball change happens after the 34th over. More often than not you take it as soon as it’s available if you are batting first,” Dhoni said.
“It is of great help if you have an individual like Yuvraj who can capitalise on that.
“His bowling too helps as you have one more part-timer who has been bowling well. We have lost the luxury of three or four part time bowlers because of injuries and a few players going out of the side. With Yuvraj there’s the luxury of three. If one has an off day you have others to fall back on,” he said.