Sports Cricket 08 Feb 2016 IND vs SL, First T20 ...

IND vs SL, First T20: Dhoni wants Suresh Raina at No 4

Published Feb 8, 2016, 9:22 pm IST
Updated Feb 9, 2016, 3:29 pm IST
India skipper says team not taking injury-marred Sri Lanka lightly.
Team India skipper MS Dhoni (left) with Hardik Pandya during the training session ahead of the first T20 against Sri Lanka in Pune on Monday. (Photo: PTI)
 Team India skipper MS Dhoni (left) with Hardik Pandya during the training session ahead of the first T20 against Sri Lanka in Pune on Monday. (Photo: PTI)

Pune: India ODI skipper MS Dhoni is aware of the depleted Sri Lankan unit that will face the hosts in first of the three-match T20 series, here on Tuesday, but said that on the day it could be anybody’s game.

“Sri Lanka play competitive cricket. The difference between the two teams is really narrow. What it really boils down is how good your match winners are playing. You may have one big hitter in the side and if it is his day, he may just take the game away from you and it can happen in just 10 or 12 balls,” Dhoni said during the pre-match conference on Monday.


Dhoni is happy that the team has found the right balance but fitness remains the paramount importance with Asia Cup and ICC World T20 are approaching near.

“Individuals will have to take responsibility of the roles they have in the side. Overall, it’s a fit team with a few players who are replaced due to injury or who go through a few bad patches.

Winning each game is our target but what will be even more crucial will be to keep players fit. These same players will feature till the T20 World Cup. If the team is fit, the best eleven is available for selection,” Dhoni said.


Virat Kohli, one of India’s heroes during the tour of Australia, is rested for this series but Dhoni has no intention of tampering with the batting order, which looks like Ajinkya Rahane will bat at No 3.

“We did discuss what to do with our batting order with no Kohli.

 It will be better if Raina bats at the position (No 4) he will bat during the World Cup because it will give him that exposure.

We are not a team that plays a lot of T20. Usually it’s one game in a bilateral series, so this gives Raina the exposure to bat at No 4 for a consistent period of time,” Dhoni made himself clear.


The Indian skipper’s batting form, after a poor run in the ODIs, did not find favour among critics, but Dhoni came good in the T20s. He acknowledged the presence of Yuvraj Singh does take a lot of pressure off him, adding Hardik Pandya gives him the option of a seaming all-rounder.

“If Pandya comes in to bat at No 8 then there is some liberty with the batsman as he can go out and bat freely. We are fortunate that we have batting till No 8.

Depending on the conditions, if we get wickets at a slightly lower rate, then we also have the option of getting in Pawan Negi in place of Hardik if it’s really needed. If not, then Hardik gives that option of a seaming all-rounder. I can get two overs from him if it’s really needed and use the part-timers. Yuvaj and Raina have bowled well for us,” Dhoni added.


The Indian pacers were not on the money Down Under and slammed by veteran Indian cricketers. Dhoni was positive and trusted that his bowlers will come back strong.

“As a captain, you have to trust the bowler. I always tell my bowlers to set their field because they know what ball they are going to bowl. It’s very difficult to set a field for every ball,” he added.

Location: India, Maharashtra, Pune