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Dhoni promises good series in South Africa

December 03, 2013 17:43 IST

Dhoni promises 'good series' in South Africa

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The Indian cricket team got cracking for the ODI series against South Africa on Tuesday with a rigorous training session in Johannesburg, and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni promising to dish out "good and exciting cricket" during the tour, starting Thursday.

The first one-dayer will be followed by two more 50-over matches before the teams lock horns in a two-Test series in what will be India's first engagement in the post-Sachin Tendulkar era.

The world No 1 ODI side arrived on Monday and after settling down at the Sandton hotel, made its way to the ground to get acclimatised to the conditions.

India is touring with one of its least experienced squads in a long time, but there is an air of confidence nevertheless, as six players from the current side toured South Africa in August to play first-class and List A matches.

One of those limited-overs games saw Shikhar Dhawan scoring 248.


Image: Coach of the Indian cricket team Duncan Fletcher, captain MS Dhoni and team manager Chetan Desai address a press conference on arrival in Johannesburg on Monday
Photographs: Gallo Images/Getty Images

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'If you love the ball coming on to the bat, that's what you will see'

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While South Africa struggled to get its batting combination right in the recent ODI series against Pakistan, India have been a force to reckon with in the shorter format.

"If you love the ball coming on to the bat, that's what you will see," Dhoni told reporters on arrival.

With the tour being curtailed at BCCI's insistence, fans are reportedly upset, but Dhoni seemed at ease when asked if he was aware of the anger.

"We can arrange a match for the administrators and let them go at it," he said, in a lighter vein, referring to the problems between BCCI and CSA CEO Haroon Lorgat.

"The relationship between the Indian and South African teams has been good. Though we've seen a bit of chirping going around, it makes cricket interesting. The guys have not become too personal, which means we will have a good series.

"Whenever we have come here, we've got fantastic reception. I don't think that will really change," he said.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Gallo Images/Getty Images

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'This lot is confident, they've got no baggage'

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India's coach Duncan Fletcher is hopeful of India living up to the challenge.

"The way the guys have played recently, they've got a lot of confidence. Our batting seems technically equipped. The only thing is the experience. But this lot is confident, they've got no baggage and they really believe in themselves."

What was supposed to be a bumper schedule of two T20s, seven ODIs and three Tests, has been shortened to only three one-dayers and two Tests.

Fans have already taken to social media platforms to express their displeasure.

Asked what will they do if objects are thrown at them during matches, Dhoni said, "We'll pick it up and give it back. That's all we can do."

While South Africa's Test captain Graeme Smith has called for an end to two-Test series and asked to play more in the longest format, Dhoni refused to be drawn into doing the same.

"I don't pay that much attention to how many games we are playing. We have a busy schedule and it's a schedule we need to respect. What is our hands is three ODIs and two Tests, so we will look to make the most of it and move on to the next series."

Fletcher felt the August trip will benefit the players who were part of it.

"To come out here and play in South Africa against this opposition, the players get a feel for the way they play cricket here. Psychologically it's quite an advantage," Fletcher said. 


Image: Duncan Fletcher
Photographs: Gallo Images/Getty Images

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