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Sight Screen

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The Dhoni dilemma

The second warm-up game appears to have followed the pattern of the first -- in that Dhoni with the bat, and Pathan with the ball, remain the early in-form players.
It's now thrown up a nice little dilemma for the coach and captain -- where to slot MSD in the order, given that he has over two games proved equally effective in the lower middle order, and at the top?
Horses for courses could, I suspect, be the answer. The Lankan pitches tend to be on the slow side, getting slower as the game progresses; they've played Tests on these grounds recently (sure, alternate pitches are prepared for the ODIs -- but these are subject to the same baking the Test pitches receive)... cumulatively, all of this means the ball won't 'come on' quite as much.
Given that Dhoni is a front foot player who likes to hit through the line and straight, it might for this series be an idea to play him at the top, where he can take maximum advantage of the hardness of the ball plus field restrictions. That would bring Laxman in at 3, Dravid 4, Kaif 5, Yuvraj 6, Raina/Yadav 7, Pathan, Bajji, Zaheer, Nehra/Kumble.
Fairly decent, I would think, giving India options in both pace and spin... the only downside is batting someone like Yuvi as low as 6 -- but that becomes inevitable if you have Laxman in the side, since you cannot bat the guy anywhere below 3 -- 4, tops -- without it being counterproductive.
Can't wait for Saturday, to see how GC and RD figure this one out.


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