'Will try to give Yuvraj more opportunities' – Dhoni

MS Dhoni was in a happy mood on and off the field after India’s 69-run win © Associated Press

In a jovial press conference in his hometown of Ranchi, MS Dhoni joked about retirement questions, the absence of the helicopter shot, and perceived lack of batting opportunities for Yuvraj Singh, but on a serious note promised more of batting experiments like the promotion of Hardik Pandya. India beat Sri Lanka comfortably by 69 runs to square the three-match series, and Pandya hit 27 off 12 balls when sent in to bat at the score of 127 for 3 in the 15th over.

Dhoni was at his best when trying to explain the absence of the helicopter shot through analogies. First, he said a helicopter cannot fly in a submarine under water. The point was he was not getting the ball to hit that helicopter shot.

“If they bowl me bouncers, the only way I can play the helicopter shot is if I stand on a stool,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni was more serious with Pandya’s batting slot in this match. “It was an opportunity for him to see international cricket closely,” Dhoni said. “This is what he is known for. He can go in and play the big shots straightaway. So in the coming games whenever we give some opportunity, we would like to give every player some kind of batting so that going into the T20 World Cup, everyone has some kind of exposure when it comes to batting.

“Bowling, everyone gets a chance to bowl. A lot of times you always experiment with bowling. What happens with batting is that you want to win games and you also want to give an individual a fair amount of time in the middle. It does not always go with the plan. Definitely in the coming games, if there is a chance of exposing someone to this kind of an exposure so that going into the T20 World Cup they know what their roles and responsibilities are.”

Dhoni was back to joking momentarily when asked why Yuvraj was not getting a permanent slot. “Nobody thinks about me,” he said. “I also keep going up and down.”

It is a sensitive topic with Indian fans so Dhoni immediately went back to being serious. “But yes you are right,” he said. “When a match starts, Yuvi is slotted in at No 5. It is difficult to get him to bat at a higher position than that. Because the top four – the openers, No. 3 is Virat Kohli, No. 4 is Suresh Raina. If you look at these four, their record in India and overseas is extraordinary. It becomes slightly difficult.

“Yes Yuvraj Singh is back in the team. We wish to give him more batting. But at the same time, since I have played with Yuvi a lot, I know it is difficult for him to go and straightaway start hitting in the 17th or 18th over. He’s like a proper batsman who can hit.

“Okay, he can start early. Whenever he bats in the slog, he has found it difficult. We’ll see how it goes. I will try to give him more opportunity in the upcoming games. But again we want to win games. That will also be our priority. We will see how it goes.”

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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