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MS Dhoni expects smooth transition

The Indian skipper reckons switching from Test to one-day cricket mode in just three days' time would be the major challenge when the hosts take on England in first ODI in Rajkot.

cricket Updated: Nov 14, 2008 15:28 IST

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni reckons switching from Test to one-day cricket mode in just three days' time would be the major challenge when the hosts take on England in first of the seven ODIs in Rajkot on Thursday.

"It's never easy when you play back-to-back international series. We had three days' time to switch over from five-day to one-day series. It's quite tough but then as an international cricketer you are supposed to play and adapt," said the wicket keeper-batsman ahead of the first of seven ODIs in Rajkot.

Dhoni, however, expects a smooth transition because half of the players in the ODI squad did not play in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series against Australia.

"One of the good things is that half the side hasn't played the Test series. It's good right now. But I have played Test cricket as well as one-day series, it is quite difficult to switch over to one-day mode but as I said we are international cricketers. We are professionals," he said.

Looking ahead, Dhoni said even if India didn't take an early lead in the series, the hosts should remain optimistic.

"If we lose a few games, we shouldn't be feel so low. We will win some and lose some but we will always have to be positive frame of mind," he said.

The Indian skipper felt that the wicket looked on the softer side and could help the seam bowlers in the morning.

"The wicket is quite soft right now. They are rolling the wicket, at the same time there's a bit of grass on it. So in the morning there will be assistance for fast bowlers. It doesn't look it will break. It's all predictions, you will know only when you play," he said.

Dhoni felt the new Power Play, introduced from October 1, could throw up interesting possibilities.

"They have made it interesting. The last Power Play, the five overs, will be decided by the team which is batting. You (fielding side) won't have any liberty of planning. It means when you plan a few strategies on the ground, suddenly you find the opposition asking about the five overs. You have to be ready for it.

"It's very tough to say anything right now, how much it will help the side batting first or second. We can see a few games and see what is really happening. But they say chasing will be easier if you have a good partnership and you can take it after that. It is really confusing right now," he said.

As per the new Power Play rules, the batting side can choose the timing of either the second or third Power Play (each lasting five overs), whereas the fielding side previously chose both.

Dhoni did not think that the 5-1 thrashing of England by India in their previous visit in 2005-06 would have any bearing on the current contest of seven ODIs.

"It is past. It's history. We are not thinking about it," he said.

He also refused to see the contest as a personal duel between him and England skipper Kevin Pietersen.

"We can sit and play a game of chess in my room or his room. But it is a team sport. It's all about winning the series and it all starts from tomorrow. It is not about outsmarting each other as a skipper but it about outplaying each other side. As a team we have to do well and dominate the opponent and do it consistently," he said.

Talking about India's winning streak under his command in the shorter versions of the game starting from the Twenty20 World Cup in September 2007, Dhoni said that the team had improved its fielding and that has brought a few results in its favour.

"We have done the basics right. We have improved our fielding. We are trying to improve our running between the wickets and at the same time we are switching players because it is tough to be in the circle cutting the singles throughout the 50 overs.

"At times we have players moving out and players fresh coming into the circle. At the same time at the end of the 32nd to 50th over we see the best fielders on the boundary line. The best part is the players have taken upon the responsibilities," he said.

He was also full of praise for the behind-the-scene contribution of Coach Gary Kirsten, the former South African Test cricketer.

"Gary is very different. He is more like the guy who operates behind the scene. He is not one who always comes to the media and speaks. That is a very good thing and he gives plenty of confidence to the players, a very good motivator. He makes moves at the right moment. That is very important.

"He is very focussed and gives advises when needed. He is not that sort of a guy who, when we lose two or three wickets, is in panic. He is quite a calm and cool guy. He makes the atmosphere great. He has been great so far and hopefully he will be the same in the future," Dhoni said.

Dhoni once again reposed his faith in out-of-form players like Yuvraj Singh who has lost his vice captaincy to Virender Sehwag and felt that it was just a question of a few good innings that would bring back their confidence.

"As a captain you have to give confidence to the players according to the talent. Sometimes when a player is out of form, he gets a lot of negative thoughts. It's important we should motivate and realise about his potential.

"It's about one or two innings before the confidence is back. It's not that there is panic in the dressing room. We know about each batsman's talent. Once he gets into groove, he can contribute to the side," Dhoni said.

The Indian captain was confident that his young team would take on England confidently as they are capable of adapting to different conditions.

"I personally believe it is not about what kind of a side you have on paper. It is all about adaptability, how quickly you can adjust to the conditions. That is very crucial. Whichever side adapts to the conditions will be successful in the subcontinent," he said.

Dhoni also refused to read too much into England's loss to a second-string Mumbai team on November 11 in their second one-day practice game.

"We are not really thinking too much about it. There are not too many things to worry about when you have not done well in practice game because you try to do a few things before the series. You may plan a few strategies that may not work and even end up having a bad result.

"One should not think about think about the practice game. It's important to do well from now for us," he declared.

First Published: Nov 13, 2008 15:08 IST