BeyondHeadlines News Desk
Nagpur: It takes a brave captain to demand more runs from Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, but that’s just what India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni is doing.
Dhoni wants the World Cup openers, two of the world’s best batsmen, to produce bigger partnerships at the World Cup.
Dhoni told reporters Friday that he wants India to get “bigger opening partnerships so that the middle order and the lower middle-order can use its explosive power well” in coming games.
India is virtually through to the quarterfinals and next takes on South Africa on Saturday.
Tendulkar and Sehwag have slammed a century each in the tournament, but are yet to figure in a century stand with partnerships of 69, 46, 9 and 69 so far.
Tendulkar scored 120 against England while Sehwag smashed 175 against Bangladesh, but Dhoni said the momentum of big opening stands could be crucial.
“If we get a good start, either from momentum point of view or period point of view, our lower order can really cash in on the platform,” he said.
Dhoni said he was keeping his options open for the match against South Africa after playing two pace bowlers and two spinners in the last three games.
“Playing an extra seamer will be a thought. From what we have seen, this is one of the better tracks of the country. By better, I mean there is a little more bounce, though there is no extraordinary speed or seam movement,” he said.
But Dhoni said much depended on how the pitch looked on the morning of the match.
“There is a fair amount of help for the spinners also on this wicket. We will have a look and see whether it (the wicket) is dry or not and then decide on the team combination,” he said.
Asked about the danger from pace bowler Dale Steyn, Dhoni said “it is not only Steyn, there are others too and all of them are talented enough to get batsmen out.”
The Indian captain praised batsman Yuvraj Singh for chipping in with crucial wickets in the tournament after the left-arm spinner bagged five wickets against Ireland and two against the Netherlands.
“Yuvi is doing a good job, but to say he will always give you 10 overs – he did not bowl 10 against England – is not right,” said Dhoni, adding that off-spinner Harbhajan Singh remained the main weapon from among the slow bowlers.
“Harbhajan has been restricting the scoring. If I have two bowlers who give 70 runs in 20 overs and not give any wickets, I will be happy because ultimately the pressure gets on batsmen to score runs,” he said.
Dhoni said the intensity was bound to pick up in important matches.
“Instensity is often mistaken for going up to the batsman and saying things to him. It is not about that, rather the body language, the effort you are putting and helping each other.
“We have seen signs of improvement, which is a big positive. We should be improving a lot and nothing can get better without that,” he said.