'We have to adapt to new ODI rules'

'We have to adapt to new ODI rules'

Dhoni feels India have a good opportunity to win the final edition of the biennial tournament

'We have to adapt to new ODI rules'

Indian captain Mehendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday said that his side will have to adapt quickly to the challenge of playing under the new one-day international rules outside the sub-continent for the first time if they want to win next month’s Champions Trophy in the UK.

“There are a few challenges in front of us as this is the first time we will be playing outside India, outside sub-continent after introductions of new ODI rules. There is time to prepare, we have two warm-up matches,” Dhoni told reporters at the pre-departure press conference here.

“It is a tough tournament as the top eight teams will be there and each match will be difficult. Overall, it is looking good and we have time for preparation,” said Dhoni.
“We won it jointly (2002 in Sri Lanka) but we have not won it outright. I think it’s a good opportunity as this is the last time the Champions Trophy may be held. It is a balanced side,” added Dhoni.

India are grouped with Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa and will begin their campaign against the Proteas at Cardiff on June 6.

Dhoni said there were gaps between matches which would be beneficial for the team.
“For Champions Trophy, everything looks good. We will get a lot of time after the first game we play. Even the three matches in the league stage have lot of interval between them,” he said.

Good pace attack

Dhoni said the pace bowling department looked good and there were bowlers like Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who can do well in English conditions.

“When it comes to this particular fast bowling line-up, I believe there are players who can exploit the conditions very well, somebody like Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The way he swings the ball and Umesh (Yadav) who has the pace. He has been part of the squad for quite sometime. Last year he was unfit but now he is ready to bowl.

“The pace bowling department is looking good. They just have to adjust to the new rules -- five fielders being inside -- what is the length they need to bowl. How quickly they can adapt to the wicket and which are the right areas to bowl,” the captain said.

He said that the much-anticipated game against Pakistan on June 15 at Edgbaston, Birmingham would be a well contested match and hoped his side will end up victors.
“Both the sides are balanced. They will have (Saeed) Ajmal who is their mystery bowler. So I think it will be a good competition.

“Our batsmen have to figure out how to score runs and at the same time our bowlers can exploit the condition. As we know, India-Pakistan is always a good game whether it is bilateral series or Asia Cup or any other tournament. We are hoping we will be on the winning side,” he said.

Dhoni said it was a good chance for youngsters to assert themselves in the team. “It is a good opportunity for all the youngsters who are part of the side. There are a few places that are up for grabs. It will depend on individuals and how they perform.

“If it is too cold then the fast bowlers may get a slight edge over the spinners to start off. I think overall it’s a good platform for youngsters to improve themselves to get good exposure,” he said.

“It is a good thing that all of them have spent a fair amount of time playing at international level. Shikhar (Dhawan) and (Murali) Vijay have been consistent. They have been rewarded and I hope they capitalise so that there is not much pressure on middle order and they can express freely on field. Let’s see how it goes,” said Dhoni, adding that there was no issue on the fitness front.

Dhoni recalled that weather played a major role when the team last played ODIs in England. “When we last time went to England for ODIs, just look at the results, you will see that we haven’t done well but I personally feel we have done decently well. Rain was a big factor and we lost all the tosses. In most games we didn’t even reach a stage where it would have been decided through Duckworth/Lewis,” he said.

“The spinners had to bowl with literally wet balls which made it impossible for them to use their skills. I think the performance of the ODI squad was good over there if you don’t see just the results. Fielding is something that has been crucial. In the shorter format one brilliant catch or one run out can change the course of the game,” Dhoni said.

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