India would prefer chasing against Ireland, hints Dhoni
Bangalore: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday indicated that the team would prefer chasing instead of setting a target if it wins the toss in the much-anticipated World Cup encounter against Ireland on Sunday.
"Batting under lights is quite easy because the wicket is behaving better under lights. In the second half the ball comes on to the bat nicely. There is no extra pace for fast bowlers. In the afternoon ball stops a bit and spinners get help, it becomes better placed later," Dhoni said.
The track at the Chinnaswamy Stadium has turned out to be a graveyard for bowlers, producing totals in excess of 300 runs in the first two matches.
"More often than not, you will get a flat wicket in India and, in worst scenario, you will get a turner, we do not see seamer-friendly tracks.
"That is what you can expect tomorrow also, and it`s difficult to say whether it will turn or not. The last two games we have seen were high-scoring games with close to 1400 runs being scored. We will hopefully have a high-scoring game," he said.
Referring to the option of playing with five bowlers, the skipper said that one should always stick to its strength.
"It`s a tricky one. You should always back your strength. At times you find that there are not enough runs, maybe 30 runs short. With Yusuf (Pathan) being part of the side, the fifth bowler`s slot can be rotated between him and Yuvraj. We will be inclined to play with seven batsmen," he said.
Going back to the wicket, he said, "If there is anything for the bowlers, could be slightly on the slower side, may be have a little more bounce. It is amazing how runs are being chased.
"We don`t want to play on a tailor-made wicket. Bangalore is known to produce runs and batsmen will have the upper hand."
Though the bowlers are yet to fire, the Indian batting has been in full flow in the tournament, and Dhoni is pleased with that.
"What is good for the side is everybody is scoring runs, it`s more about battle of slots. Yuvraj (Singh) loves batting at number four, Virat (Kohli) has been batting well in recent times and he can bat well against both pacers and spinners. At number fifth, sixth or seventh, he can`t play to potential but, at times, you need to promote Yuvraj or Yusuf to accelerate," he said.
Asked about the bowling combination for Sunday`s match, Dhoni said, "Spinners have variations or if fast bowlers can do the job for you, we will sit and decide."
Does the presence of a few left-handers in Ireland squad strengthens Ravichandran Ashwin`s case?
"If they have plenty of left-handers, then we might be inclined to play one more off-spinner, Harbhajan and Yusuf both are off-spinners," he said.
Piyush Chawla`s selection has raised a few eyebrows after he went for plenty in the first two games, but Dhoni defended the bowler saying that his wrong-uns can be crucial.
"The opposition can`t pick the wrong-uns, and Piyush has the wrong-uns. Ashwin has done extremely well for us, he has even bowled in the first 10 overs."
Asked about players` fitness, the skipper remarked wittily: "Servicing and overhauling of all cars for the race have been done. All are available unless there is any electric failure at night."
Dhoni said the team watched Kevin O`Brien`s scintillating knock against England.
"That was an unbelievable innings, right from the very start. It was really impressive to see him change gears. As far as strategy is concerned, it depends on the match, will try to get him run out again. We really enjoyed O`Brien`s innings, it was not against us, enjoyed as a spectator."
Asked how seriously they are taking the Ireland match, Dhoni went back to the 2007 World Cup.
"We never said any side is weak in the World Cup. Unless you have fond memories of Bangladesh, you will not make that mistake," he said sarcastically.
"One batsman can change the tempo with a strike rate of 150-200," he added.
India started the tournament as firm favourites but opinions changed after the bowlers` listless display in the first two games.
"On the basis of one match, one bowling show, opinion changed. It does not matter to me or the side. They don`t help, but working in the nets will help us progress," he said.