The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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We’d like to bat first: Dhoni

Durban: Aware that his team often fumbles when it comes to chasing, Mahendra Singh Dhoni said that given a chance he would opt to bat first in India’s opening ICC World Twenty20 match against Scotland on Thursday.

“A lot depends on the conditions but we would probably love to bat first,” said Dhoni.

“It’s always a better option… Since batting is our strength we would like our opponents to chase a big total. Also there is a lot more pressure when chasing,” said the captain even though India’s opponents, Scotland, are among the minnows of world cricket.

The Indian captain also made it clear that the batsmen would be asked to refrain from playing too many fancy shots and would instead be encouraged to concentrate on playing good, conventional cricket.

“If you’ve seen last evening’s game between South Africa and the West Indies, all batsmen played proper cricketing shots. I think it’s important to play it as a normal game. The stress would be on playing in the conventional way and not try anything extraordinary,” he said

On whether all the excitement that happens beyond the boundary — with cheerleaders and music creating a festive atmosphere — affects the players, Dhoni replied in the negative.

“I don’t think cricketers get distracted. They are too involved and focused on the game to do so. All the music, the cheerleaders or fans hardly matter. Remember it’s the world cup,” Dhoni said.

While the wicketkeeper-batsman seemed unwilling to divulge the team composition, he reckoned that conditions would play an important role in influencing his decisions.

Kingsmead usually has a bouncy pitch and in recent days the wind has been pretty strong too.

“We will definitely plan out the things according to the conditions here. The ball does a bit here in the evening,” he said.

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