India look for winning start in new season

Friday, 14 October 2011 00:56 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Hyderabad (AFP): Injury-ravaged India hope to make a fresh start in the new season by defeating England in the one-day series at home, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Thursday.

India’s World Cup triumph in April was overshadowed by a disastrous tour of England a few months later when they were blanked 4-0 in the Test series to lose the number one ranking and also lost the one-dayers 3-0.


India’s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni hits a shot in the nets during a practice session ahead of their first one-day international cricket match against England in Hyderabad October 13, 2011. India and England will play in a series of five one-day matches and a Twenty20 match against each other. REUTERS

Dhoni’s men get a chance to redeem themselves when they take on Alastair Cook’s Englishmen in afive-match one-day series that opens in Hyderabad on Friday.

“Our objective is to make a victorious start to the new season,” Dhoni wrote in an exclusive piece for the Indian cricket board’s official website (

“We may have not been up to the mark in England, but the fact is that before that tour, we won the game’s biggest prize, the World Cup. Our performances over the past three seasons speak for themselves.”

“I am convinced that it is only a matter of time before we turn the tide.”

Injuries to key players have taken such a heavy toll on the Indians that the 15-man squad for the England one-dayers has just four survivors from the side that beat Sri Lanka in the World Cup final in Mumbai on April 2.

Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Zaheer Khan and Munaf Patel have been sidelined with injuries, while Harbhajan and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth were dropped due to poor form.

Dhoni hoped his three other World Cup team-mates - Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli - will lead the batting charge against the buoyant Englishmen.

“As the senior components of the batting line-up, the onus is on us to defy the opposition bowlers and take the team to secure territory,” the skipper wrote.

Seamer Praveen Kumar remains the only experienced bowler in the depleted squad expected to contain the England line-up on traditionally batting-friendly wickets.

Three bowlers - leg-spinner Rahul Sharma, 24, left-arm seamer Sreenath Aravind, 27, and fast bowler Varun Aaron, 21 - have yet to play international cricket.

Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Sharma will be the three spin options, while Praveen leads a new-ball attack that also includes unheralded Umesh Yadav and Vinay Kumar.

Dhoni, however, remained confident the new-look attack will deliver.

“I believe the new boys will be good enough to bowl on wickets that are likely to suit the batsmen,” he said. “They have grown up bowling in these conditions and know the wickets well.”

The remaining four matches after the Hyderabad opener will be played in New Delhi on October 17, Mohali on the 20th, Mumbai on the 23rd and Kolkata on the 25th.

England will round off the tour with a Twenty20 game in Kolkata on October 29.