Between giving it back to one trying to second guess his retirement and coming up with the type of questions that might be raised should India win the World Twenty20 or get knocked out at different stages, MS Dhoni made two things very clear.
This team has the ingredients to win the title. And the Asia Cup starting on Wednesday, along with the two warm-up matches after it, would be used to rotate the players and give them as much match time as possible. Satisfied with the consistent performance, especially by the bowlers, in the T20s against Australia and Sri Lanka, Dhoni said on Sunday that this phase will help him forge a stronger team for the WT20 in India next month.
“Conditions were very different in Australia but we played three T20s there, followed by three T20s against Sri Lanka. Now the Asia Cup is in this format. It gives you time to settle into this format,” said Dhoni before the team’s departure to Dhaka for the Asia Cup.
“I have the belief and also the talent that’s required to win a big tournament. I feel this team has all the ingredients,” he said.
“This is a format where to some extent you have to take that price tag off the wicket. You have to be more aggressive, take more risks. And I always felt it’s easier to switch from T20 to Test. It’s good we are getting these games. We should get into the groove nicely.”
Besides trying to win the Asia Cup, Dhoni will try to give each player some match experience so that a settled team that can negotiate any bend in the road to the WT20 title is formed.
“What will be important is to keep the team fit and at the same time try to give as many games as possible to all the individuals. A lot of that will depend on where we are positioned in the tournament, in the Asia Cup specially. After that we have two games before the World T20 and I feel if everybody gets a chance to play, it will be very good for us.”
Dhoni also indicated that Ajinkya Rahane might have to wait for his turn in the shortest format. It was revealed when Dhoni played down the chances of promoting himself in the batting order under normal circumstances.
“In a normal scenario, I don’t see myself batting up the order because of the lineup we have got. Of course, if we have a partnership where everybody is doing very well and all of a sudden it’s the 18th or 19th over, then I may promote myself. But other than that in normal scenarios where everything goes well, I don’t see that happening,” he said, rattling off the batting line-up which didn’t feature Rahane. “It’s Virat, if he’s at 3, Raina at 4, Yuvraj Singh at 5, I am 6, then Jadeja, Hardik.”