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Try Dhoni as an opener: Mohd Azharuddin

The former skipper says that one more experimentation would do no harm to India.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2006 19:25 IST

Former Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin on Tuesday said the team must try out unconventional ways if it was to stem the rot in South Africa and suggested that Mahendra Singh Dhoni be promoted as an opener.

"There is a lot of experimentation and one more (promoting Dhoni) can do no harm," he said at a media interaction organised by Neo Sports channel.

Azhar, fighting a court battle against the life-ban imposed on him by BCCI over match-fixing allegations, also said that a good opening partnership was key to success.

"India are unable to get a good opening partnership," he said adding that the openers needed to put 75 to 80 runs in the first 15 overs to take the team to a good total.

He criticised the move to have Irfan Pathan bat at number three when there were others who have played in that position for 250 matches or so.

Azhar felt the Indian batsmen were allowing South African bowlers to dominate them and were having problems in playing the short balls.

The Indians must play their natural game. "There is no point in being excessively defensive."

Former Sri Lankan cricketer Aravinda De Silva said that the problem with the current Indian team was that it did not have a fixed batting line-up.

"There is a need to raise the confidence levels. It's up to the players to be committed and work hard. A coach can only support. I think captain is the one who should take the lead along with some of the senior players to put the team right. Batting line-up being shifted around is a problem."

First Published: Dec 05, 2006 19:13 IST