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Dhoni's men gear up for grudge match against Windies

Agencies

Posted: Jun 25, 2009 at 1326 hrs IST
      

Kingston: With the Twenty20 World Cup debacle still fresh on their mind, a wounded India will be desperate to avenge their recent defeat against the West Indies when the four-match ODI series gets underway from Friday.

A tired Indian team, who suffered a seven-wicket thrashing at the hands of Christ Gayle's men in T20 World Cup in England, has now regrouped for the 50-over format after a nine-day break from competitive cricket.

The squad is sans big-wigs like Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan, who are nursing various injuries, but promises to put up a goos show against the hosts with the return of pacer Ashish Nehra and some new talents.

The Indian team is packed with all rounders in Yusuf Pathan and Ravindra Jadeja besides the likes of star batsmen Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir and Rohit Sharma.

Their bowling department, as admitted by West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, will be the main concern for the home side, especially the spinners.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has vowed to bring cheer back to the Indian fans, has already made it clear to the opposition that his team was not short on confidence and had the wherewithal to challenge the West Indies.

"When it comes to playing for your country you don't really need motivation to go out and perform," Dhoni had said on arrival in the Caribbean.

He also warned the hosts against relying on the Twenty20 form, saying the 50-over format was altogether a different ball game.

"The West Indies is playing good cricket at the moment. They had a very good (World) 20/20 tournament, but in the 50 overs, you have time to settle down," he said.

Dhoni believes consistency would be the key to success in the series, which begins at the slow Sabina Park track. "The team that plays consistent cricket over the series will come out as winners. We have to play consistent cricket and I think that will be the key for us," Dhoni said.

Dhoni's men, ranked third in the ICC's ODI team rankings, would also take the opportunity to climb up the ladder ahead of Australia and inch closer to table toppers South Africa, especially in the backdrop of their successful last ODI series against New Zealand in March.

The West Indies, seemingly resurgent following their semifinal berth in the T20 World Cup, are not taking the Indians lightly though. Chris Gayle and Co had lost their last series in England.

"India is always a good One Day team and they will be looking to beat us based on their Twenty20 disappointment. Sehwag and Tendulkar are two world class players but they still have quality players to step up and they have a lot of experience in one-day cricket," Gayle said.

"They still have quality players in Yuvraj, Harbhajan Singh, Dhoni, (Ishant) Sharma and a lot of guys to give us a lot of trouble," he added.

Irrespective of their recent Super Eight match win over India in the Twenty20 World Cup in England, the West Indies apprehend that the Indians will be "a handful in the Caribbean".

The hosts are also aware that they have to click as a unit despite all the experience and the talent in their armoury.

"We've got experience within experience and hopefully we'll come together as a unit," said senior batsman Sarwan, adding that "I think the key when we play India is to try and work the ball as much as we can."

However, their coach John Dyson has tried to use pressure tactics on the visitors by saying the hosts will play aggressive brand of cricket.

"We will play aggressive cricket, we will play to win as always, and we will aim for consistency. We always try and determine who the key players are for the opposition and think of ways that we may combat those key players," he said.

Squads:

India: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (capt), Yuvraj Singh, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Pragyan Ojha, Yusuf Pathan, Murali Vijay, Subramaniam Badrinath, Rudra Pratap Singh, Praveen Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Ravindra Jadeja, Dinesh Karthik.

West Indies: Chris Gayle (capt), Denesh Ramdin, Lionel Baker, Darren Bravo, Dwayne Bravo, Sulieman Benn, David Bernard Jr, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Narsingh Deonarine, Runako Morton, Ravi Rampaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Jerome Taylor.

Match starts at 8 pm IST.

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