No all-rounders, our bowling combination will be 3-2: Dhoni

Perth: Claiming to be short of a seamer all-rounder, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Monday said he has no option but to field three fast bowlers and two spinners in the five-pronged attack for the first ODI cricket match against Australia, on Tuesday.

“Most likely it will be a 3-2 combination. We don’t really have a seaming all-rounder. Who the players are, we’ll have to wait and watch,” Dhoni said in the pre-match press conference.

The skipper’s statement automatically rules Himachal Pradesh’s Rishi Dhawan out of the equation as he has been picked as an all-rounder in this team.

Dhoni also had a message for team’s younger lot about next two and half weeks Down Under.

“Treat every challenge as an opportunity and every opportunity as a challenge,” he said.

While he did not take names but the skipper gave ample indication that left-arm seamer Barinder Sran will be making his international debut in the series as the team will miss the services of the dependable Mohammed Shami.

“Shami is someone who can bowl with the new ball, in the middle overs and at the death. It’s always good to have that kind of a bowler and it’s sad to lose him. As far as the newcomers are concerned, we will definitely feature them in the tournament,” Dhoni added.

The other question is the choice between Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Manish Pandey in the slot vacated due to Suresh Raina’s exclusion.

The skipper did not drop any hint as to who is his preferred choice but said that it would depend on who fits better at No.6 slot.

“We have to pick one of the two (Gurkeerat and Manish) to bat at No 6 and we have to see which batsman fits that slot.

It is a very difficult position to bat. It will depend on what the top four or five batsmen have done, and according to the need of the game, we’ll make a call. But ideally, Nos 5 or 6 is a slot where it’s good to have individuals, who can adapt and who are not rigid about their batting slots,” the skipper added.

Dhoni feels playing at the top level demands a certain degree of flexibility, which is a key ingredient for success in all good teams.

“If you see the success of the Indian team, we had quite a few players who could bat at different numbers and very few who have been successful at Nos 6 or 7. We’ve had openers in first-class cricket batting at No 3 and those at Nos 4 or 5 ended up being openers.

“That flexibility and adaptability has to be there because you have to make the most of the number of overs according to the demands of the game. I don’t think giving a fixed slot really helps anyone. What helps is having a mindset where you take every opportunity as a challenge, and every challenge as an opportunity.


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