Bowlers' Fitness a Worry for Dhoni

Kingston (Jamaica), June 19 (IANS) India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is worried about the fitness of his bowlers ahead of the three-match Test series against the West Indies that starts here Monday.

Dhoni, who missed the ODI series that India won 3-2, hoped that his bowlers are fit enough to bowl 25 overs during the Tests.

"It is important that they are fit or else it will have an impact. It's not that you are bowling four or 10 overs - you could be bowling 25 overs, whether it be a spinner or a paceman. You want your best bowlers to play and be at least 70-80 percent fit for the longer format," Dhoni said here Saturday.

"Only then you will have the mental and physical space to achieve it," he added.

The Indian team was plagued with injuries even before the series started. Pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and S. Sreesanth were ruled out of the series due to injuries and Munaf Patel injured his right elbow during the ODI series. Fast bowler Abhimanyu Mithun's arrival has also been delayed due to visa issues.

Opener Murali Vijay also injured his right forefinger during Friday's practice session.
Amidst the injuries woes, Dhoni advised his team mates to put the emphasis on doing small things right.

"We put a lot of emphasis on doing small things right. Irrespective of how many Tests you have to play abroad, if you do the basics right it will help us perform, given the potential we have," said Dhoni.

The India captain is not taking the West Indies lightly.

"West Indies have a good bowling attack. But Test cricket is all about negotiating good balls and then pushing the bowlers to bowl in your areas; score enough runs for the bowlers to defend it," he said.

Dhoni said in the absence of senior players, the stage is set for the youngsters to perform.

"It's a good exposure for youngsters. Tests are a lot tougher. It's important they play Tests and gain more experience. It would help them take right decisions; help them groom themselves. You want each individual to enjoy cricket, you don't want pressure on the youngsters and look to create an atmosphere where they are loving the challenge," he said.

"If there is no challenge, you don't know their mettle. Fortunately, IPL has helped the youngsters to play in front of 35,000 people. Still they need help from the seniors on how to conduct themselves on and off the field. All these little things contribute," Dhoni said.


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