Dhoni says Sehwag is licensed to thrill

With Gautam Gambhir evolving into a complete batsman, there is just no need to straitjacket Virender Sehwag's characteristic daredevilry, MS Dhoni said.

updated: November 23, 2009 09:37 IST
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With Gautam Gambhir evolving into a complete batsman, there is just no need to straitjacket Virender Sehwag's characteristic daredevilry, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said here on Monday.

Sehwag has been in his devil-may-care self in the Test series against Sri Lanka, getting off to rollicking starts but not staying long enough to convert them into big knocks.

But asked Dhoni if the Delhi dasher needs to tone down his cavalier attitude in the second Test starting from Tuesday, he replied in the negative.

"You don't really want to tell a player like him what to do. That is how he plays the game and is known for. He is more of an aggressor and is not the kind of guy who would stick to the wicket for one-and-half days. He is always looking to get on with game," Dhoni explained.

Conveying the think-tank's unconditional support for Sehwag's brand of batsmanship, Dhoni said, "We want him to play his natural game. He is a very experienced player and we don't need him to tell anything."

India probably can afford to let Sehwag play his natural game since the other opener, Gambhir, has evolved into a complete batsman, who can shelve his natural aggression and graft for hours, something he displayed in the drawn first Test in Ahmedabad.

Effusive in his praise for the left-hander, Dhoni said, "He is a great character. Thrust him into whatever condition and he would play accordingly. He can shift gears easily and uses his feet well against the spinners.

"He has been consistently in good form over the past one-and-half years and whenever the team needed, he delivered. Once he sets himself well, he goes for big innings," added the captain.

Dhoni was his usual coy self when asked about team combination.

"It has always been an issue in the media but you have to wait till tomorrow," he said.

Asked how he rated S Sreesanth in the nets, Dhoni said the Kerala speedster was impressive but also sprang in defence of Ishant Sharma that revealed little about his preference if it comes to chose one between them.

Sreesanth has bowled well in the nets. He bowled with great pace and swung it a lot but we will have to wait till tomorrow," Dhoni said.

"Ishant, meanwhile, is back in rhythm, as we saw in Ahmedabad. He is putting in a lot of efforts and the improvement is there to see," he said.

After the runfeast in Ahmedabad, Dhoni reckoned the pitch at the Green Park Stadium here would have more for the bowlers.

"Compared to Motera, the pitch here looks different. It has got some grass and the base is dry. But you cannot really predict how the wicket would play the next five days.

"Here the weather is cooler and as we know, initially there would be some help for the seamers. The outfield is nor lush, so there would be some reverse swing for the fast bowlers. It will break as well. Overall, I feel it would be a better wicket for the bowlers," he explained.

India's famed line-up looked vulnerable in the morning sessions in Ahmedabad and Dhoni said a little bit of caution would negate the issue.

"I think it depends on individual approach. With some assistance for the pacers, you at times get out to good deliveries. You have to keep that good delivery out and bat," he said.

One thing that has left Dhoni dithering is whether to bat first or not of he wins the toss.

"First sessions will be important. Everyday there would be a bit of help for the pacers. Even in ODIs, we see the first 30-45 minutes are important. Now here you have to decide whether to bat first and go hard at the first one hour. Once you see through the hour, it becomes easy to keep batting. Or you bat in the fourth innings and at the receiving end of a pitch where the ball would be turning," he said.

Dhoni assured there was no worry about Harbhajan Singh, who skipped Monday's practice, and said Dinesh Karthik - drafted in as his cover - would return to play Ranji Trophy.

"Harbhajan is fine. It being an optional practice, we leave it to the players to decide how they want to prepare. Yes, Dinesh was called in because I was having some problems. But now he, along with a few others, would go back to play Ranji," the India skipper said.