Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni conceded that comeback-man Yuvraj Singh will be under some pressure during the upcoming ODI series against Australia but said the team would insulate him from any “undue” stress by keeping things “normal” in the dressing room.
Yuvraj would be eager to prove a point after being recalled to the squad following a string of good scores for India A against the West Indies A and a solid display for India Blue in the Challenger Series.
Dhoni said the 31-year-old,who beat a rare germ cell cancer last year,will perform well if he manages to keep his mind off pressure and expectations.
“We are trying to keep it as normal as possible…if it becomes like a comeback scenario,I think there is a kind of pressure on the player. It doesn’t matter if you are one of the biggest match-winners. It is very important to take that feeling away from the individual that he is making his comeback,” Dhoni said ahead of the only Twenty20 match against Australian to be played in Rajkot on Thursday.
“Because what’s important is for the individual to be expressive on field,back himself,have belief in his talent,the kind of talent that he has got. Ultimately that will show on the field. We will try to keep it as normal as possible and try to take the undue pressure off him and hopefully that will work,” he added.
He backed the the left-hander,who has been recalled after playing his last ODI in January.
“Yuvraj,of course is a match winner and we all know that. He is a big player and has been proving himself whenever questions have been raised. The fact is that he is a big match player. He performs well in big matches. He does well in tough series. We are hoping that he will come back strong,” he said.
Despite the BCCI advancing the start of the ODI matches by an hour,Dhoni said dew would be a key factor and a lot would depend on it,especially the use of spinners.
“We will have to see exactly how much it turns,whether dew will be a factor because if dew becomes a factor then the spinners may not get the same amount of turn that they would have got at some other time of the year,” Dhoni explained.
Dhoni said the seven-match ODI series,starting October 13,would be an exciting one.
“You will have ample time,if a side lags behind,to get back into the series. So it’s a bit different compared to the other series that we have played. Mostly we play a five-match international series,so this is something slightly different for us. But I think we have played one seven-ODI series before,” he said.
The inspirational captain,who enjoyed a two-month break from international cricket,said it is good to be back.
“It’s good to be back and start playing cricket. A few of us,we had two months off. A few others had close to one and half months off. It is good to be back on the field,” he said.
Asked to comment on the Australian team,Dhoni said the visitors have the right mix of players.
“I think they are a very good side. If you see,they have got the right mix,they have got the all-rounders,got proper batsmen and good bowlers at the same time. I think it will be an exciting series and the best team will win,” he said.
Before the start of the series,Australian vice-captain Brad Haddin had said the visitors would be striving to win the series 5-2 to be number one in ICC rankings.
“They can look at 7-0 also but that is not what we are looking at,” quipped Dhoni in response.
“It is not about what we are looking at but how well we do on the field. I think they have a got a very good side but we have also played good cricket,” he said.
Local boy,all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja,would be making his first appearance at home in an international T20 match and Dhoni said he will use the left-arm spinner appropriately,as he has been struggling in the shortest format of the game.
“…all cricketers have ups and lows in their career and you have to deal with that. It is not that he has done badly. T20 is one format where he feels a bit of pressure. Of course we have to manoeuvre around it,” Dhoni said.
“A lot of times we have used him in the last few overs,which obviously puts a bit of pressure on the spinners. We will try to use him in the best possible manner where a little pressure can be eased off him and other bowlers,who are in good form,they handle the kind of pressure that is needed in the slog overs,” Dhoni added.
“Overall we will share the responsibility and that would make it much easier for him to consistently do well,” he added.
There was a heavy downpour on Tuesday and the skipper said they would look at the forecast before the start of the match.
“If we talk about the practice,compared to how much it rained,the groundsmen have done a good job. We practised as much we could. Some water had seeped in through the covers but we have tried to manage it well and did whatever we could. Tomorrow,we will see the forecast,especially one hour before the match,that is more realistic and we will have to wait till that point of time,” he said.
Speaking on the game in general,the 32-year old said he enjoys playing in all three formats and each tends to influence the other.
“I enjoy each and every format. It doesn’t matter if it is Test cricket,T20 or ODIs. ODI,I feel is a mix of Test cricket and T20. Increasingly what we are seeing is that ODIs are having a big effect on Test matches,how we play and in the same way,T20s are having a big effect on how we are playing the ODIs.
“Every format is special for its own reason. You have to respect each and every format and go ahead in whatever you are playing and try to do well for your country,” he said.