x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dhoni calls Yuvraj 'backbone' of India's batting

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was a happy man once again after India clinched their fifth consecutive ODI series in the West Indies

Mahendra Singh Dhoni was a happy man once again after India clinched their fifth consecutive ODI series when rain forced the abandonment of the final match against West Indies in St Lucia on Sunday. Dhoni, who came under media scrutiny following India's poor performance in the World Twenty20 last month, paid tribute to Yuvraj Singh whose batting has contributed to his team's success in one-day cricket.

"He [Yuvraj] is the backbone of our batting line-up. Coming in at No 4, he always takes up the responsibility and sets up the platform for the batsmen down the order to contribute," Dhoni said after India won the series 2-1. "When he sets himself up, rest assured he is in for a big score," Dhoni said, before adding that: "I think we really have a very good side. It's a pleasure to win series out of the country."

West Indies, who were sent in to bat, scored 27 for one in 7.3 overs by which time it started to rain. Play was called off thereafter. Man of the series Dhoni also reserved praise for Ishant Sharma for slugging it out in the absence of pace spearhead Zaheer Khan. "The bowlers took the initiative, and the youngsters who came in and got a chance have proved themselves," he said. Ishant had struggled during the series - particularly at the hands of Chris Gayle in the third ODI - but bounced back to get Gayle for a second-ball duck on Sunday.

The captain credited discipline as key to Ishant's rejuvenated spell. "He [Ishant] was concentrating more on what he needs to do rather than looking at the batsman," he said. "He was bowling in the right areas." sports@thenational.ae