Rahul's absence will not affect team: Dhoni

Guwahati, Nov 4 (UNI) Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today made it clear that the absence of former skipper Rahul David would not affect the composition and performance of his side. His blunt reply came while interacting with the newspersons after the practice session before the first ODI to be played here tomorrow. A master of words, he however corrected himself immediately adding, by talent wise there is no replacement for senior pros like Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly. He also said it would be tough to decide between Gautam Gambhir and Virender Shewag, although he informed that the playing eleven would be selected tomorrow morning but he dropped enough hint tounderstand that sehwag had an edge over.

''Of late he is playing well. In the net also he has a positive frame of mind. But we have not yet decided,'' said Dhoni.

The Indian captain was concerned about the size of the ground.

''This is quite a small ground and bowlers are going to suffer.

Specially the spinners may suffer. ''I would have like to have five yards more in the outfield,'' he reiterated. Praising the Pakistani pace attacks he also backed his own bowlers. ''At this moment we are also bowling very well and getting good result''. Regarding the presence of five specialist opening batsmen, he said that it should not be any problem as all of them have played in different positions under various circumstance. He, however, refused to divulge the composition of the team.

Regarding playing against Pakistan and their resolve to avenge the defeat of Twenty20 final loss, he said ''We are up for it in the longer format of the game too.'' UNI

Story first published: Sunday, November 4, 2007, 23:08 [IST]
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