New Zealand series ideal exposure, says Dhoni

Cricket

New Zealand series ideal exposure, says Dhoni

Skipper defends BCCI decision on keeping stars out of Ranji Trophy

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels that the upcoming tour of New Zealand will be an ideal exposure trip for his young brigade as it prepares to defend the World Cup, which will be held in just over a year’s time in Australia and New Zealand. 

“As far as experience is concerned, yes, the next World Cup will be in Australia and New Zealand, so most of the players will get the feel, about the wickets. When I first went to New Zealand, the fielding position was very confusing. The shape of the grounds are very unusual,” Dhoni said during his team’s pre-departure press conference on Saturday.

“We had to keep fine leg very deep and from a wicket keeping angle it looked like it was square leg. So it takes time to adjust. Overall, it would be a good exposure,” the skipper said. 

He predicted an exciting series in New Zealand and said that some of the matches could be high scoring, especially with the new ICC rules. “The grounds in New Zealand are different. In most places, there are drop-in pitches. It has been seen that the matches can be high scoring, especially with the new rule changes. When we went last time, we had played according to the old rules. “According to the new rules, probably some of the matches could be high scoring. But it will depend on what kind of wicket we are playing the match,” Dhoni added.

Dhoni also said that the team needs the tail enders to contribute, if not with the runs then at least with the time spent at the crease. 

“If you see how cricket is moving, your 8,9,10 and 11 have to contribute, because if they don’t spend enough time in the middle, you also end up wasting one batsman— maybe a number seven or a number six batsman—so that is one area we have to do slightly better.

“Even if they are not scoring runs, if they can hang around a bit of time, the batsman at the other end can score important runs. 

“We saw Ajinkya (Rahane) play in the last innings (Durban), something like that. If that is not the case, it becomes difficult for batsman at the other end,” he said. 

Asked if some of the players could have played in the Ranji Trophy quarterfinal matches before the New Zealand tour as suggested by Rahul Dravid and Venkatesh Prasad, Dhoni said that it was a good decision to not allow the players to play in the domestic tournaments as they needed a break before the overseas tour. 

“If the team leaves together then it is good. We got a 10-day break after the South Africa tour and a break is good. It is important to be mentally fresh. It was a good decision to give them off time,” he said.

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