'Missing specialist coaches'

Coach Kirsten has too much on his plate, says skipper Dhoni

'Missing specialist coaches'

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni addresses the media in Mumbai on Friday, a day before the team’s departure for Bangladesh. Reuters

Talking to reporters on the eve of the team’s departure to Bangladesh, Dhoni said, “To some extent, it does (affect the team). You need specialist coaches to get the best out of the players. Gary looks after so many things. He has team meetings, talks to batsmen aand bowlers and then works out strategies. He has a lot on his plate.

“It does help to have specialist bowling and fielding coaches. But that’s the way it is, and it’s now an administrative issue,” he said.

Both posts have been vacant since the BCCI sacked bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad and fielding coach Robin Singh in October.

Even though the BCCI roped in Australian Mike Young for a short stint during the recent Twenty20 and one-day series against Sri Lanka, the team is now again without a fielding coach.

“Mike is not available for this tour. He came with the basic techniques and went slow as he did not want the players to get injured. He won’t be around but with the help of other support staff, it’s important to go ahead with that. Fielding is one aspect of the game that is important, whatever be the format of the game,” Dhoni said.

Accepting the need for his team to lift its fielding standards, Dhoni observed, “We dropped quite a few catches in the last series. We will try to rectify that.

“We will try to make our good fielders the best in the world because it really helps, especially in the middle overs, with four good fielders inside the circle who can save the singles,” he said.

Dhoni was candid enough to admit that the bowlers were grappling with issues like bowling at death and slow over-rate, which incurred the India captain a two-match ban during the one-day series against the Lankans.

“We struggled early in the series but improved a lot in the later matches. We have struggled a bit in the death overs.

“Regarding over-rate, we have a lot of part-timers, who are mostly spinners and they can save us time. We have Sehwag, Yuvraj, Raina and Rohit Sharma as well. So if we can save time up front, it is not going to be an issue,” Dhoni explained.

Sri Lanka are the third team in the Bangladesh tri-series that commences in Mirpur on January 4. Dhoni said though India have just played a long series against Lanka, the presence of Bangladesh gave the tournament a tougher look.

“We are happy to play international cricket. Since it will be a triangular series, it will be a bit more exciting. We are hoping this would be a continuity to the last series we played (against Lanka).

“Bangladesh is a good side and can beat any side on their day. We have to be fully prepared,” he said.

Dhoni said 2009 was a satisfying year for the team. “We performed well as a team. There were a few ups and downs, which happens in a long season. All individuals performed well and the youngsters grabbed their opportunities. It was a good year for us.”

The Indian team will be without Sachin Tendulkar for the tri-series and Dhoni said even though the team would miss him, it was important to give the master batsman a break.
“We will miss Sachin. Whether you play Bangladesh or any other team, you want him in the dressing room. But at the same time, it’s important to give him rest. He’s been playing for the last 20 years,” he said.

Dhoni said he himself was feeling great but would not hesitate to skip a series if he felt he needed a break. “I love playing games. That’s the way I have played unless I feel if I go and play, I may get injured. That was one reason I opted out of the Test series in Sri Lanka (in 2008),” Dhoni said. “I don’t think my body needs rest right now. But as the season goes ahead, I will definitely have a look at it. I don’t think my fingers have fully recovered from the Kanpur Test but apart from, that it’s pretty good.”

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