'Positive intent is the key'

Skipper Dhoni urges the team to stay focussed

“Being selective is important but positive intent is very important because you can’t look to only survive,” the Indian captain told newsmen. “There will be something for the fast bowlers initially, specially if you are batting second. But you must still look to score and pick up boundaries off bad deliveries because till you keep scoring runs, there won’t be too much pressure. But if you are scoring at 2.5 runs an over, you end up mounting pressure on yourself.”

Dhoni added that one of the aims coming into this series was to give every squad member a game. “One thing is try and give most of the players a chance to play in the eleven. It is just one slot where we can experiment. We will just look to give rest to some of the fast bowlers if needed, but otherwise there will be only one slot where you may see one or two changes,” he said, refusing to identify that slot.

The team batting second has won the last five matches at the Wanderers under lights. “The toss could be very crucial if it is a reduced game and becomes a 20-over affair,” Dhoni observed. “Then it’s an advantage batting second. But if the overs are reduced to 40, the side that has batted first has an edge. The weather, in any case, is beyond our control, just like the toss.”

India have the not unfounded reputation of being comeback kings. “It’s always there,” Dhoni smiled. “You lose games, you win games. What is important is to have the same mindset throughout the series. It will be very important to start fresh because whatever has happened has happened. We just need to play to our potential.”

The high altitude of Johannesburg, Dhoni admitted, posed its own challenges. “The ball travels really fast,” he opined. “When you are fielding, the ball can come really quickly to you. That’s the speciality of playing in places with high altitude. The one good thing is most of the players have played here before, have played in similar venues. I don’t think it should affect them.”

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