Two things are accompanying Mahendra Singh Dhoni during his interactions with the media these days. One is the smile and the other is question on his batting line-up. It was no different on Sunday and the ODI skipper said his young men need time before being labelled heroes or villains.
Dhoni said he was in no hurry to discard or embrace anyone before giving them a fair run and that India needed this before figuring out what they would take to the World Cup in 2011. There were also questions on handing a maiden cap to Manoj Tiwary, who is here as back-up for Yuvraj Singh, ahead of Suresh Raina.
“It was an instinctive decision to field Tiwary,” Dhoni said. “He looked good and positive at the nets and sometimes as skipper you have to back your instincts. He’s no back-up but a member of the squad and here because he is thought to be good enough to be here. It’s tough to do well against Australia first-up without being able to acclimatise and he should get a few games. If he’s good enough, he’ll do well in them.”
Dhoni said he was more interested in giving his players a chance to learn. “It’s not about how many matches you play, how many runs you score or how many wickets you take. It’s a question of learning from the seniors, from mistakes and on the field. Everyone makes mistakes, but good players don’t make them frequently. My job is to give everyone a chance and the boys are responding well.”
He indicated that most of those who are here might get a chance sometimes in this tri-series. “The World Cup is still far away, but ideally, it’s important for whoever the captain is at that time to get players who have played about 70-80 matches by then. For that to happen, people have to get chances.”
But Dhoni was quick to add that this didn’t warrant anybody a chance to travel with the team without playing. It wasn’t clear whether he was referring to anyone in particular, but he did say: “I don’t believe in keeping someone if he’s not playing.”