Almost everybody who watched the IPL III final would have been astonished by MS Dhoni's instinctive ways. The decision to bring in a fast bowler against Kieron Pollard, who was saved for the last to smash the Chennai pacers, could have been detrimental. But Dhoni went by his instincts and attacked the batsman.
"It was a gut feeling. At the end of the day, free-hitters look to hit straight and at times you get the ball right. If you don't get the elevation right as a batsman, it's the height more often than not where the ball goes (referring to Pollard's dismissal). I said, let's take a gamble, and it worked," Dhoni said later.
But will he take such chances in his role as India skipper? The answer was in the affirmative.
"In IPL, the resources are limited, but in the India team, the five bowlers along with the part-timers are tried and tested material. There's less pressure and more freedom," he said before leaving for the ICC World T20 in the West Indies.
Dhoni was content with his bowlers and stressed on the role of the part-timers.
"There are some players who can chip in any time and I have the option of Harbhajan (Singh) or Yusuf (Pathan), who can open the bowling. I am glad there are no fitness issues," he said.
Fitness, fatigue no concern
The talking point after a hectic tournament like the IPL is bound to centre on fitness, fatigue and recovery time. But Dhoni brushed aside these concerns.
"Regrouping is not a concern. We have to respect the schedule as it is. The IPL finished on the 25th and we assembled the next day. We had one-and-a-half days together. Then we have a whole day of flight and then we go there and have two-three days. That's more than enough because we have played throughout the year and we are together almost 250 to 300 days a year," said Dhoni.
Wickets may assist bowlers
The last time they were in the Caribbean, the short-ball troubled the batsmen. Coach Gary Kirsten said that wouldn't be the case this time.
"It's not a concern surely. I think every player has his game plan ready. The batsmen know which bowlers they will be facing and where the bowlers will try to target them. They know their cricket," he said.
Dhoni believed the wickets might assist the bowlers.
"Last time, the wickets were slow and flat. It helped the batsmen to score runs. We have a couple of practice sessions and will get an opportunity to watch some of the other teams. With time, the wickets will be on the slower side and it might assist our spinners," he said.
Unlike last year, India are leaving with an injury-free squad. Virender Sehwag's absence might pinch but Murali Vijay has shown the form and merit to take his place.
After winning the IPL, Dhoni had said: "I don't predict much in cricket. If we can adapt well to the conditions in the Caribbean, we will be a very difficult side to beat."
If the skipper means what he said, we are in for an exciting and an extremely explosive contest.