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Will Pakistan bat for India against Australia?

Last updated on: September 30, 2009 

Will Pakistan bat for India against Australia?

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A billion Indians, including captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, are hoping Pakistan will take their game against Australia seriously and not look to experiment.

The Australia-Pakistan Group A match in the ICC Champions Trophy on Wednesday assumes tremendous importance for India.

If Pakistan defeats Australia by a good margin and India also does the same against the West Indies, then both the neighbours will advance to the semi-finals.

However, Dhoni is worried that Pakistan may rest a few top players and give the bench strength a look in.

"Now that they have qualified, they could be looking to experiment with their bench strength. It depends on what they want to get out of tomorrow's game," Dhoni said.

"Unfortunately, not everything is in your hand. Lot of things need to happen: Pakistan to win, we to beat West Indies and net run-rate," he added.


Image: MS Dhoni
Photographs: Reuters
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'All will be cheering for Pakistan'

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India's captain though is sure that the whole nation, for a change, will be cheering for Pakistan.

"All of India wants its team to do well. Knowing that Pakistan's win earlier in the day is so important, they all will be cheering for Pakistan," he said.

Even the Indian team will be keenly following the game. That's why they are delaying in naming the team for their last match against the West Indies.

"We will delay our team selection. It depends on how the match is progressing. If we need to strengthen our batting, we would do so. If we need the bowling to get stronger, we would do that," Dhoni said.


Image: MS Dhoni
Photographs: Reuters
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'We are not bowling that well'

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Dhoni came down heavily on his bowlers, saying they must take the blame for India's poor performance in the tournament.

"We batted in only one game so you can't say the batting has let us down. But we have bowled twice and we are not bowling that well. The bowlers were much better in the second match; they were neither too short nor too full. But we must admit we have not bowled that well," he said.

He is worried about Ishant Sharma's rapid deterioration in the last few months, but is hoping he can regain form soon.

"It's not about the drop in pace. It is about the line and length you bowl. I thought Ishant, in his second spell yesterday, was the old Ishant we know. He was keeping it on the off-stump and bringing the ball in and not giving too much width to the batsmen.

"It happens all the time in cricket. A few good shots and a batsman is back in form. A few good balls and a bowler regains his confidence."


Image: MS Dhoni
Photographs: Reuters
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'The boys can bounce back'

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Dhoni expressed confidence that the team will bounce back soon.

"Losing and winning is part and parcel of any sport. It's enough for me that I am playing for my country and am leading the side which not everybody gets a chance to do. That's enough for me.

"We have done very well in the last 18-20 months. We have done well all over the world. We have the potential to do well. The boys can bounce back and on their day can give any side tough fight."

He said it is tough to rest top players despite the cramped schedule as the team cannot afford to lose matches.

"It's a tough thing to say. You rotate a few players and lose a game and it becomes a big issue in India. One thing which whole of India needs all the time is win. You have to admit with so many games being played, you can't win all the games.

"This is something which everyone has to understand. You need bench strength but you don't want to miss big players in big tournaments. The second line must be readied though. You need to groom them. They ought to have played 20-30 games, so when a senior misses out a young player is ready to step in."


Image: Sanjay Raina, MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik
Photographs: Reuters
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