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We might play five bowlers later: Dhoni

We might play five bowlers later: Dhoni
Fully aware that bowling is one of his team’s weak points, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday indicated that he could opt for five specialist bowlers in future if the part-timers don’t perform as per expectations.

‘Initially, we would like to sustain with seven batsmen but if part-timers are not able to perform, we might have to play with six batsmen and five bowlers,’ Dhoni said on the eve of his team’s opening World Twenty20 match, against Afghanistan on Wednesday.

Indian bowlers were clobbered by Kamran Akmal and Shoaib Malik in their final warm-up game on Monday, resulting in a five-wicket loss. ‘Yes, bowling has always been a concern for us. Our bowling line-up is slightly weaker than our batting. But we have experienced bowlers who can do the needful,’ he said.

Even as the likes of Lakshmipathy Balaji, Irfan Pathan, Zaheer Khan were taken to the cleaners, Dhoni gave indications that he would stick with the three pacer and one spinner formula for the time being. ‘We lack consistency of bowling well at the death overs. We need to have more variations and we will be trying different strategies and field placements to back our bowlers. My ideal bowling combination will be three pacers and one spinner and part-timers. Unlike Indian conditions where there is a chance of playing two specialist spinners,’ Dhoni said.

Questioned on the fixed formula of playing seven specialist batsmen and four bowlers, Dhoni said the practice has been prevalent in India ‘for past 50-55 years’. ‘We have some of the batsmen at the top of the order who believe in expressing themselves from the first delivery. They like getting after the bowlers, so a cushion of seventh batsmen helps us,’ he reasoned.
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