Pacers told to preserve for main World Cup: Dhoni

Last Updated: Feb 16, 2011, 22:57 PM IST

Chennai: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni defended the less-than-impressive performance by his pacers in the two warm-up games, saying that they have been told to preserve themselves for the main World Cup.

"The pacers definitely have to improve. They are currently not able to give 100 per cent in practice because we have asked our seamers to not go all out, and save themselves for the main games," Dhoni said after the match.

"May be that is what is reflecting in their performances. But hopefully, they will do well once the tournament starts and they put that extra effort," he said.

Electing to bat, India posted an imposing 360 for five in 50 overs and then bowled out the Kiwis for 243 in 43.1 overs to go into the World Cup with a clean slate, having won both their warm up matches.

The skipper, himself, was the top-scorer today as he blasted 108 in 64 balls, which included 11 fours and three sixes and Dhoni said his long stay in the crease helped him to go for the kill in the slog overs.

"It was a difficult wicket to rotate strike but we have hitters down the order, and were able to achieve a total that was above par on this track," he said.

"In the past few games I have been in a hurry, but my game is different. I take my time, and then like to stay till the end for the slog overs.”

"You have got to remind yourself of your strengths. Good to see most of the batsmen getting runs. Crucial for the part-time spinners to bowl well when you go with only four bowlers," he added.

His New Zealand counterpart Ross Taylor heaped praise on Dhoni and said it was the Indian skipper who took the game away from them with his blitzkrieg.

"Got to give credit to Dhoni, he took the game away from us," he said.

Taylor said his spinners need to improve as they would play an important role in the tournament.

"We got a good start but need to work on some things. Spinners are going to be a big part of the World Cup, and we have got to improve against them," he said.

"We haven`t played well over the last 6-7 months. Our game against Kenya will be at the same ground, and will be a day game, so hopefully we can do well," he added.

Meanwhile, Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh credited the win to the brilliant batting performance.

"We batted really well and had runs on the board. Chasing a run-rate on over 7 is never easy and when you have runs on the board, spinners just need to stick to the basic and wait for the opponent to commit mistakes," Harbhajan said.

However, the Indian spinner refused to get carried away by the two wins in the warm up matches and said they won`t take anything for granted.

"We may have won the two warm up matches but we would not take anything for granted. We need to do the good work and stick to basic and enjoy each match without thinking about the result," he said.

PTI