India still need one fast bowler and one all-rounder: Dhoni
Kochi: Two slots in India`s one-day squad, including a fast bowler and an all-rounder, are still up for grabs ahead of next year`s cricket World Cup, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said.
World Cup will be co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh from February 19 to April 2.
"Of course, few slots are open. May be a fast bowling slot is there. One or two places, in the team depending on injuries is also available. One batsman slot since we really do not have a world class all-rounder.”
"It is also up for grabs, which means either it will be an all-rounder or a big hitting batsman who can fit down the order," Dhoni told reporters here ahead of tomorrow`s ODI against Australia.
He said the core group of players is settled and the remaining will be picked in the course of the four months left in the flagship event of the ICC.
"Top eight or nine players are almost sure as injuries do not bother them. But after them there are quite a few places vacant. Depending on performances of the individuals and as to what criteria the team wants in the side for the day.”
"It will be open for quite some time now till we decide the team that will participate in the World Cup," said Dhoni.
Dhoni reasoned that the resting of some key players was unavoidable so that "niggles do not turn into injuries".
"Most of the players got some kind of a niggle or small injury. You have to be safe because they played quite a fair amount of cricket over the last year. It was a jam-packed schedule. Till the World Cup we will be playing the same amount of cricket, which means it is better to rest players before the niggles turn into injuries," he said.
"It also gives you an opportunity to test your bench strength. You can say that it is a blessing in disguise and appropriate programme to get the youngsters tested. In the South African series we will try to play with the best XI who are going to be part of the World Cup squad," he said.
Dhoni said pacer S Sreesanth will have to be consistent if he wants to be in the World Cup squad.
"He is an excellent talent. He is a very good Test match bowler. At the same time, he has to make his place in the side and has to be at his best when an opportunity is given. He has to perform well to get into the ODI squad," Dhoni said.
Asked about pacer Vinay Kumar`s chances of making it to the World Cup squad, Dhoni said, "For matches in India, he has very good chances. But you have to see the spot that is available. Because if Praveen Kumar is part of the eleven, generally he will bowl the new ball. He (Praveen) is generally given company by either Zaheer Khan or Ashish Nehra depending on conditions.”
"This means that Vinay has to fulfill the job of one change seamer. It may be slightly difficult but he has shown that he has talent to mix pace and length of the delivery and come up with a sharp bouncer."