We won’t experiment in New Zealand, says MS Dhoni
Having spent almost a week in New Zealand, Team India goes into the first ODI against the hosts at Napier with a fair idea about local conditions and what lies ahead of them, starting Sunday.
“Our preparation has been very good. We got a ground outside the stadium for nets and it was almost a centre wicket. We got good bowlers in the nets and good facilities and analysed every aspect closely – not just bowling and batting but also fielding which will be very crucial here. This pre-tour preparation that we have got will be very crucial,” said Indian skipper MS Dhoni on the eve of the match.
It rained in Napier on Friday but even as the sun continued to play hide and seek on Saturday, strong winds blew through McLean Park – an important factor which could play a huge role in the first one-dayer.
“When you are batting, at times you have to pick sides, the areas where the big shots have to be hit. It can be slightly more risky as it is quite a strong breeze which blows here. If you hit along the straights, there can be a chance that you might just fall 10 yards short due to the strong wind. So, you have to be very intelligent. In bowling, you might tend to get tired while bowling into the wind and thus a lot of planning is required. In fielding department, as the outfield is slow, you need to judge the distance, how quick it is, so that the batsmen are not able to take doubles. Overall, you have to read the condition well,” said Dhoni.
Swing will be a factor in New Zealand and especially at the McLean Park.
“The wicket looks good, it is dry and hard. Fast bowlers will get extra bounce. Intelligent ones might use it to their advantage. Ball may swing for a longer duration of time. It generally swings till 15 overs but here it will last for 5-10 more overs. At the same time, batsmen might also love the pace or bounce of the wicket,” Dhoni said after having a look at the wicket.
With Yuvraj Singh no longer in the playing eleven, the No 4 spot has many takers including Ajinkya Rahane and also Suresh Raina and Badrinath but Dhoni said the team management does not want to experiment much.
“We will see what suits best for No 4. Right from the Greg Chappell era, we have stopped experimenting. We don’t do that in cricket anymore. We will give chance to a few players and hopefully they will rise to the occasion.”
With a certain Corey Anderson, who slammed the fastest ODI ton a few weeks ago, in the hosts’ squad, Team India has been working hard on their strategy for the series opener.
“At times you tend to over plan when it comes to the new players in the opposition. One just needs to focus on the plan and work out the weaknesses. New Zealand, in my view, has been a very contributive side in the last 25 years. They are very good, especially in fielding. They have so many individuals who contribute in every department. That is why they are so widely respected,” opined the Indian captain.
New Zealand, along with Australia, will be hosting the 2015 Cricket World Cup and Dhoni knows that this tour provides the reigning world champions an opportunity to draw a blue print for the big event.
“This tour is a good exposure for players who have not played in NZ before. There are many new additions in the bowling department and lets see how well they handle the conditions. Good for the team that we will have players who would have already played in New Zealand, especially at the same venues where we would be playing, before the World Cup.”