|Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Monday’s game was a typical India-Pakistan contest, with fierce rivalry overshadowing the warm-up atmosphere.
What Virat Kohli (75n..) did, Kamran Akmal (92n..) bettered. And that eventually saw Pakistan emerge as the winners by five wickets.
India’s first practice game had seen the bowlers enjoy success against Sri Lanka. But against Pakistan, they came a cropper. Except Ravichandran Ashwin, who took four for 23, all the other bowlers had a forgettable day on Monday. That, too, on an occasion when Magendra Singh Dhoni played five bowlers.
Hence, the question of five bowlers or seven batsmen has once again come to the forefront. After the match, Dhoni admitted that the question is being pondered upon.
However, by his words, one understood that he favours the seven batsmen-theory, using a part-timer for the fifth bowler’s slot.
The following are excerpts
Mohammed Hafeez: I want to thank Allah for this win... We believed that if India can post that total, we can easily chase it, if we play sensibly. The boys showed a positive attitude.
The way Kamran played was exceptional. (Shoaib) Malik showed what experience is all about… He knows how to handle pressure and, in the end, he played a crucial role in the partnership.
Even the bowlers bowled really well... As a captain, I could see them trying hard but things weren’t working because it was a good track.
In the end, the batsmen did a great job and winning against India is always special. The win tastes sweeter because we could chase the total, especially after we couldn’t chase successfully in our last game (against Australia).
As a captain, I’m very sure that the way we have been gathering momentum for this tournament, the way we won the series against Australia and the way we chased today against India, things look good.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni: It was a good game to test ourselves... The reason is that we were playing with five bowlers and now we need to take a call whether we want to drop one batsman for an extra bowler or if we are comfortable with four bowlers and the fifth being a part-timer... It is a difficult call for us… We are a side who have always played with seven batsmen as we feel that six is a bit light... It was a testing ground for us.
I felt our fast bowlers gave away too many runs in the initial overs and we didn’t bowl the last few overs well.
We would love to have the extra batsman… There are a few batsmen who can bowl a bit. Today, I didn’t use Virat (Kohli), (Suresh) Raina and they always provide us with that extra option.
Rohit batted brilliantly... He played a few deliveries upfront and then went after the bowlers.
He has the talent to score runs off any bowler in the world. He can bowl a bit of off-spin as well. His partnership with Virat was really important… I hope they continue in the same form throughout the tournament.