'We don't really have a seaming all-rounder.'
'Who the players are, we'll have to wait and watch.'
Claiming to be short of a seamer all-rounder, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he has no option but field three fast bowlers and two spinners in a five-pronged attack for India’s first ODI of the five-match series against Australia, in Perth, on Tuesday.
"Most likely it will be a 3-2 combination. We don't really have a seaming all-rounder. Who the players are, we'll have to wait and watch," said Dhoni, at Monday's pre-match press conference.
His statement automatically rules Himachal Pradesh's Rishi Dhawan out of the equation, as he has been picked as an all-rounder in the squad.
Dhoni also had a message for the teams younger lot on the next two-and-a-half weeks Down Under.
"Treat every challenge as an opportunity and every opportunity as a challenge," he said.
While he did not take names, the skipper gave ample indication that left-arm seamer Barinder Sran will make his international debut in the series as the team will miss the services of the dependable Mohammed Shami.
"Shami is someone who can bowl with the new ball in the middle overs and at the death. It's always good to have that kind of a bowler and it's sad to lose him. As far as the newcomers are concerned, we will definitely feature them in the tournament."
In the absence of Suresh Raina, who was not picked for the series, Dhoni will have to choose between Gurkeerat Singh Mann and Manish Pandey.
"We have to pick one of the two (Gurkeerat and Manish) to bat at No 6 and we have to see which batsman fits that slot. It is a very difficult position to bat. It will depend on what the top four or five batsmen have done, and according to the need of the game, we'll make a call. But ideally, numbers 5 or 6 is a slot where it's good to have individuals who can adapt and who are not rigid about their batting slots."
Dhoni feels playing at the top level demands a certain degree of flexibility, which is a key ingredient for success in all good teams.
"If you see the success of the Indian team, we had quite a few players who could bat at different numbers and very few who have been successful at numbers 6 or 7. We've had openers in first-class cricket batting at No 3 and those at numbers 4 or 5 ended up being openers.
"That flexibility and adaptability has to be there because you have to make the most of the number of overs according to the demands of the game. I don't think giving a fixed slot really helps anyone. What helps is having a mindset where you take every opportunity as a challenge, and every challenge as an opportunity."