India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is confident going into the five-match ODI series against England that gets underway today here at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium despite the absence of several senior players. It's the start of a new season after India's abject surrender in England that saw Dhoni's men lose four Tests, three ODIs and a Twenty20 international.
Dhoni believed his team should keep it simple. "We should keep things simple. During the tour of England, the performance of the batsmen was impressive. Here, we have a different bowling department and it's an opportunity for them to do well in home conditions. They have played a lot of IPL but this will be a different ball game," he said on the eve of the first one-dayer yesterday.
The wicketkeeper-batsman felt this was an opportunity for the junior players to shine. "Obviously, it's difficult when you miss the seniors but it is not at all difficult to manage the junior players. It's a big opportunity for them and important for us to make a winning start."
Dhoni ruled out the possibility of any psychological scars on the players, who were part of the dismal England tour. "We've had a few youngsters, who did well in England. Also, the wickets were very different there. What matters most is a good performance in all three departments," he said.
When asked about the opening combination with senior opener Gautam Gambhir back, Dhoni said: "We have to analyse the situation as Parthiv (Patel) and Ajinkya (Rahane) have done well in England. Gautam has batted at No 3 at times but only when both Sachin (Tendulkar) and Viru (Virender Sehwag) have been available. But again he has also performed well as opener. So, we'll have to take a call on that," he added.
When asked about the implementation of the new rules, that will see two new balls used from both ends, Dhoni said it could negate the reverse swing for seamers. "A bit of swing will definitely be there but there may not be too much reverse swing as we expect in the sub-continent. But then reverse swing also depends a lot on the nature of the outfield and the ball," the Indian skipper said.
India: Parthiv Patel, Ajinkya Rahane, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina, MS Dhoni (captain and wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, R Ashwin, Praveen Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar.
England: Alaistar Cook (captain), Craig Kieswetter (wicketkeeper), Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell (though he is suffering from a tummy problem), Kevin Pietersen, Ravi Boara, Jonathan Bairstow, Graeme Swann, Samit Patel, Steve Finn, Tim Bresnan.