Dhoni warns team against complacency

The Australians may have decided to rest Brett Lee but Mahendra Singh Dhoni cautioned his batsmen against getting too complacent in their tri-series game.

updated: February 23, 2008 17:57 IST
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The Australians may have decided to rest their pace spearhead Brett Lee but Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday cautioned his batsmen against getting too complacent in their tri-series game.

"(Brett) Lee, of course, has been a top performer for them and has been in top form but it depends on how the bowler who replaces him perform. We wouldn't be taking our sights off them," Dhoni told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

Dhoni also stoutly defended the beleaguered Yuvraj Singh, saying he still had a lot of confidence in him and that he could play a key role in the middle order.

"He (Yuvraj) has been a key performer for us and personally I would like to see him bat in the middle overs," Dhoni said.

"A lot has been said about good starts and how the finish should be provided in the final overs but for me, the key is how you bat in the middle overs and set up the game between 20th and 39th over.

"Middle overs are the key and only key batsmen should bat in this phase. Yuvraj is thus a key to guide the team in the middle overs," he said.

Dhoni also backed his young side to reach the finals and said if so happened it would vindicate his views on matters of
team selection.

"It would be good if we were to reach the finals... a lot was said about this young team... the youngsters, from the first Twenty20 game, they have shown they are willing to learn and adapt and as long as they put in their best it doesn't matter whether you win or lose," he said.

India have played four games and four matches are still to go through, raising the spectre of whether the team needs to also rest its' key bowlers.

"Rotation of fast bowlers is very important and it would be done at the right moment," the indication being that perhaps in the game on Sunday, no new face is likely to be seen.

Indian bowlers have hardly bowled in the one-day series, both Ishant Sharma and Sreesanth have sent down the maximum and it has not been more than 15 overs to either of them.

Dhoni praised his bowlers for their good work but cautioned them to be consistent in the remaining matches.

"They have bowled manfully this summer and made an impact but the key for them would be to be consistent."

Dhoni also took the opportunity to pay his tribute to Sachin Tendulkar who would soon have a stamp issued by the government of India in his honour.

"He's been the best and a model for any youngster to emulate, be it on or off the field. Once I made it to the international stage, the first few days were spent just watching him go about his business."

Tendulkar was also in the high list of Mitchell Johnson, the left-arm paceman of Australia, who would now spearhead the attack in the absence of Lee.

Johnson just did not want to worry about Tendulkar, or Sehwag, and was determined to pick up key Indian wickets.

"When I am bowling, I wouldn't like to worry whether it's Tendulkar or Sehwag at the other end. I just want to go about my business and pick wickets," said Johnson.

The left-arm paceman believed his eye-catching performance in the one-day series was a lot because of his changed approach of the last few weeks.

"In Test matches, I was just trying to make the new ball swing a lot. Now I've gone back to my old ways of hitting the deck and letting it carry to Gilly (Adam Gilchrist). I'm not too worried whether it's swinging or not."

Johnson also wanted his batsmen to do better in the middle overs, a failing which has stopped his side from raking in big totals in the middle.

"We started off well yesterday but it's in the middle overs when our batsmen need to kick on. We need to score a few more runs in the middle overs and also keep wickets in hand."

Above all, Johnson was just excited to lead the attack for Australia in Lee's absence.

"Brett's having rest and I am very excited about going out and leading the attack for Australia. It's an opportunity I'm looking forward to."