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Dhoni backs his deputy by citing the past

cricket Updated: Feb 17, 2008 01:36 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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Most of the talk about the Indian team's fortunes is centering around Yuvraj Singh and the lack of runs from him. The vice-captain has the team's full support, said Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday.

He is one whose current form should matter less than what he has done in the past for India, the captain reckoned. "Everyone wants to perform, but when you are a lot more desperate to perform, the pressure mounts. Yuvraj can bounce back, it's a matter of just one good knock and he will get his confidence back."

Dhoni urged all to look back on what Yuvraj had done in the past and maybe rightly so. "He has been our main middle-order batsman and has taken up all the pressure. He gives good stability to the team specially when you are playing with four specialist bowlers,"

There had to be questions on Yuvraj's place in the batting order, specially after Rohit Sharma's elevation to the No. 4 slot in the last match. "I feel the best time for Yuvraj to bat is after the 20th over. Everyone talks about the need to start and finish well, and I acknowledge that. But to me, overs 21 to 39 are equally vital. The field is spread out, you need people who can work the ball around and set the pace. Yuvraj has shown several times that he can do that."

On what it would means to reaching the finals, Dhoni said "I believe in living in the present. At the same time, reaching the finals will be good. The way we batted in the Twenty20 game to the way we batted in the last match, it shows the guys are thinking about their cricket. If you have an open mind and are keen on learning, it helps in the long run."

Johnson's take on the rest

Australia are resting Lee at a crucial time of the tri-series. Is it a wise thing to do, Mitchell Johnson was asked on Saturday. He welcomed the move, citing his own example of being rested in the Twenty20 game. "He is having a well deserved rest, and I'm excited to lead the attack. It's very important to have some time away during a busy summer. I had a break in the Twenty20 game, which helped." Johnson felt he was bowling better than ever before. “When I had the new ball during the Tests, I was trying to swing it a bit too much."

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