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One disorder that Dhoni wants to put in order

Nobody is pressing the panic button yet, but signs of concerns about India’s biggest strength have started to surface. Batting combination and the form of a few players are keeping the thinktank worried for sure.

cricket Updated: Feb 14, 2011 23:51 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay

Nobody is pressing the panic button yet, but signs of concerns about India’s biggest strength have started to surface. Batting combination and the form of a few players are keeping the thinktank worried for sure.

MS Dhoni usually laughs off such topics, but after Sunday’s practice match, he was serious. “It’s bit of a headache,” he said.

“We have talent, but even today we got just two good scores from our batsmen, and lost too many wickets in the middle. We have to quickly sort this out.”

About the combination, Suresh Raina looks likely to be left out if everyone is fit. That will leave Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Dhoni and Yusuf Pathan in the starting 11, not necessarily in that order.

Now, the order. If Sachin, Sehwag and Gautam are to occupy the first three slots, Kohli will have to be pushed down. The Delhi batsman has batted at No. 3 in the last 23 of his 45 ODIs, scoring 882 runs at an impressive average of 42.

Moving an in-form batsman from his preferred slot is a tricky decision. But to have Kohli at No. 3, either Gambhir has to be shifted to No. 4 or has to be left out. Since neither looks plausible, the team faces a tough call.

Besides, Tendulkar, Sehwag and Gambhir have played only a handful of ODIs since last February (see box). Although they got runs whenever they played, World Cup marks a new beginning for them.

And then there’s Yuvraj. While his bowling has blossomed, his batting form has dipped. But, since leaving him out doesn’t look like an option, he’s to play himself into form.

One more day of practice and a warm-up tie against New Zealand is all India have before Saturday’s tournament-opener. So, Dhoni has four more days to put things in order.