There is not much bowlers or a captain can do when batsmen of the calibre of A B de Villiers and Chris Gayle are on song, said India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni ahead of the defending champions' World Cup match against the West Indies on Friday.
South Africa captain De Villiers and the West Indies' Gayle are two such players who must have kept Dhoni worried and forced him to do some planning against them.
Mission AB was nipped in the bud when the Proteas captain was run-out against India at the MCG.
Come Friday, the onus will be on Dhoni’s men to stop the marauding Jamaican from repeating what he did to Zimbabwe's bowlers in Canberra during his double century.
Ask Dhoni about his plans for Gayle, and 'Captain Cool' gives a generic answer that the best is to have no plan when players such as Gayle, AB or Brendon McCullum go all guns blazing.
"Frankly speaking, you can't do much, because if the individual is hitting sixes you can't have fields for it. More often than not, you'll lose the battle of short-pitched deliveries, if they hit you off the short-pitch stuff also. There is not much you can do," Dhoni observed when queried about impact players.
‘You don't have a fixed plan’
For Dhoni, the best is to 'bluff the batsman' with variation and nothing more than that.
"You look to bluff the batsman a bit. I believe that gives liberty to the bowlers to try a few other things if a batsman like Chris Gayle or AB de Villiers gets going. Apart from that, you don't have a fixed plan," was Dhoni's frank assessment.
He said when a Gayle or De Villiers is on the rampage it becomes even more important to get hold of the half chances that come your way.
"That's where I feel the bowler will have to take that extra initiative and they have to be backed well by the fielders because if you have a 50/50 opportunity and if you grab that it will really ease up the pressure from the fast bowlers or the spinners. I think, as a unit, you have to hunt in a pack."
‘Gayle’s back has been same for me for the last three years’
For India, man-in-question Gayle hasn't been a big factor in most of the matches, and the West Indies team management will hope he fires.
Gayle did not practice for two days, but it was more of a rest after constant cricket in the past few months.
When Darren Sammy was asked about it, he replied, "As far as I know, everybody is fit. We have a full squad to choose from."
Probed further about a back injury which probably prevented Gayle from taking part in the net sessions, he said: "Chris Gayle’s back has been same for me for the last three years. He continues to come up and win matches for West Indies," said Sammy, who will now play alongside Gayle for IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Gayle, on Tuesday at the Murdoch Oval ground, had a lengthy one-on-one discussion with West Indies great Clive Lloyd.
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