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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Bhuvi has 'a few niggles', but Dhoni to persist with five bowlers

Bhuvi has 'a few niggles', but Dhoni to persist with five bowlers

August 15, 2014 08:01 IST

Bhuvi has 'a few niggles', but Dhoni to persist with five bowlers

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India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni again reiterated that he will not deviate from his strategy of playing five bowlers in the fifth and final Test against England, starting at the Oval, in London, on Friday.

With Ishant Sharma, the hero of the Lord's Test victory, declared fit, he insisted he will persist with his five-bowler theory which, incidentally, didn't work in the last Test at Old Trafford.

"Yes, we will be playing five bowlers," Dhoni declared, on the eve of the Test, as India look to avoid another overseas series loss, having already conceded a 2-1 lead in Manchester.

He said Bhuvneshwar Kumar has some niggling issues but is expected to be fit in time for the start of the match.

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Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Getty Images

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'Bhuvi is someone who we cannot afford to rest at this point'

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He has managed the workload quite well so far. He has a few niggles here and there but at the most he is always close to 80 percent fit. We shouldn't forget the amount of bowling he has done, and also the batting and fielding. So it is good that he is shaping up well. But he is also someone who we cannot afford to rest at this point in the series," Dhoni said at Thursday’s pre-match press conference.

As has been the case, he again harped about how the "process" was more important than the "result".

"This match is very important but the process is still more important than the result, because it puts less pressure on the team. It is an important Test but, at the same time, it is still about breaking up of the sessions. If you win more sessions than the opposition, then the result should come out in your favour," he explained.

Explaining why he was not present for Wednesday’s practice, Dhoni said:

"I felt like taking a personal day and so I took it. We have had enough team-building exercises in the three days after the last match and I was with the team then. This one day will not affect us." 

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Image: Bhuvneshwar Kumar in action
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Tags: Dhoni , Bhuvi

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'Make sure that we don't repeat those mistakes'

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On Thursday, sudden rain forced the team to remain confined to the indoor practice facility.

Looking back on the previous Test, Dhoni said the team has discussed the collapse at Old Trafford and will learn from it.

"We have addressed that and it was not just that game. In the games before that also, we have lost some wickets in very short span of time. It is not really about addressing it but more about soaking it up, learning from the last game and make sure that we don't repeat those mistakes."

India will be hoping for a good showing from their batsmen, particularly Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, this time.

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Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni during an India nets session
Photographs: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

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'Pujara gets more pressure to handle'

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They also have to address the issue of their openers not able to string together a 50-run partnership for quite some time now.

"An extra middle-order batsman is an improbability at this point because we have played in most of the matches with five bowlers," Dhoni said, when asked if Pujara could be made to open with Murali Vijay.

"He (Pujara) hasn't got much opportunity (to open), so all of a sudden to come up with an application like that in a big game will have its own consequences.

"The only big factor in not having big opening partnerships is that you expose the number three batsman and, irrespective of whether number one or two gets out, Pujara has to face that pressure.

"Pujara is always batting close to the third, fourth or fifth over. So he gets more pressure to handle but he is also getting more chances of facing the challenges in such conditions. It will only improve him," Dhoni said.

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Image: Cheteshwar Pujara
Photographs: Stu Forster/Getty Images

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It is important for Virat to remain positive'

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Talking about Kohli, he gave a long explanation about the captain-in-waiting's lean patch.

"It is important for him to remain positive. If he can score runs in Australia or South Africa, there's no reason why he can't score runs in English conditions. You need to assess what you are doing differently or what bowlers are making you do differently. Virat is batting well though not with the desired amount of runs," he said.

"But he (Virat) has been middling the ball well in the nets and we have seen glimpses of that in the few Test innings that he has played here. He started off well but got a good delivery and got out.

"As I said earlier, it is something that he has to go through. Sometimes it is good to have games in between in terms of getting some practice. But if you are playing from January continuously, then that one game in the middle wouldn't have that much impact. So he needs to back himself," he added.

Since the match begins on the country’s Independence Day, Dhoni was asked whether it would be an additional source of motivation for the team.

"When you are representing your country, it is motivation enough. It doesn't have to be the Independence or Republic day. It is a big and important day for us (the country). At the same time, we want to be thinking about the Test match more than anything else," he replied. 


Image: Virat Kohli during a nets session
Photographs: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

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