Dhoni hopes Indian fans support Pakistan

MS Dhoni was hoping that the Indian fans will support Pakistan against Australia as the archrivals' win will keep chances alive for Team India.

updated: September 29, 2009 17:23 IST
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Captain MS Dhoni was hoping that the Indian fans will support Pakistan against Australia on Wednesday as the archrivals' win over the Aussies will keep chances alive for Team India to advance to the ICC Champions Trophy semi-finals.

"All of India wants its team to do well. Knowing that Pakistan's win (against Australia) earlier in the day is so important, they all would be cheering for Pakistan," he said.

Dhoni said he would keenly follow the Pakistan-Australia game and would decide on his playing eleven only after he has seen how the day's game is heading.

"We would delay our team selection. It depends on how the match is progressing. If we need to strengthen our batting we would do so. If we need the bowling to get stronger, we would do that," Dhoni said at a press conference here.

A lot of calculation would be on on Wednesday and Dhoni expected not only his support staff, but even seniors and others to chip in with their suggestions.

"Not only the coach and the support staff, even the seniors would be needed to chip in with their advice.

"Unfortunately, not everything is in your hand. Lot of things need to happen: Pakistan to win, we to beat West Indies and net run-rate," he said.

If Pakistan beat Australia, then India would need to up their net run-rate dramatically, besides winning the match, to stand a chance of making the last-four stage. India presently has a net run-rate of -1.08 whereas Australia has a massive advantage of +1.00 in their favour.

Australia won their opening game against the West Indies by 50 runs and India lost theirs by 54 runs. So if India is to go past Australia's net run-rate, they ought to cover the difference of 104 runs between the two teams.

For instance, if Australia lose their game by 25 runs, India need to win theirs against the West Indies by 80 runs to prevail and go through to the semi-finals.

However, if Australia bat first and score 250 runs, India need to get their runs inside 40 overs for them to go through.

While Pakistan play a day game, India will take on West Indies in the evening.

"We are cheering for Pakistan as they play a day game. We will know where we stand when we go out. Hopefully Pakistan win," said Dhoni.

On India's below average performance in the ongoing tournament, Dhoni blamed his bowlers for the poor show.

"We batted in only one game so you can't say the batting has let us down. But we have bowled twice and we are not bowling that well. Yesterday (against Australia), the bowlers were much better, they were neither too short nor too full.

But we have to admit we didn't bowl that well," he said.

However, India skipper had some words of encouragement for the out-of-form pacer Ishant Sharma.

"It's not about the drop in pace. It's about the line and length you bowl. I thought Ishant, in his second spell yesterday, was the old Ishant we know. Keeping it on the off-stump and bringing the ball in and not giving too much width to the batsmen.

"It happens all the time in cricket. A few good shots and a batsman is back in form. A few good balls and a bowler regains his confidence."

Dhoni also responded with interest to his Australian counterpart Ricky Ponting's suggestion that the workload of cricketers, particularly fast bowlers, needs to be managed well.

"It's a tough thing to say. You rotate a few players and lose a game and it becomes a big issue in India. One thing which whole of India needs all the time is win. You have to admit with so many games being played, you can't win all the games.

"This is something which everyone has to understand. You need bench strength but you don't want to miss big players in big tournaments. The second line must be readied though. You need to groom them. They ought to have played 20-30 games so when a senior misses out, a young player is ready to step in."

(With agency inputs)