x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Dhoni looks forward to Indian cricket’s ‘new start’

India captain confident the youngsters will adapt in post-Sachin Tendulkar era ahead of South Africa tour.

MS Dhoni is not intimidated by the fact India are embarking on a new era after the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar. Jewel Samad / AFP
MS Dhoni is not intimidated by the fact India are embarking on a new era after the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar. Jewel Samad / AFP

MS Dhoni, the captain, is not worried about the lack of experience in India’s batting line-up ahead of their tour of South Africa.

India will play three one-day internationals and two Tests this month. The first Test, which starts on December 18, will be their first in the post-Sachin Tendulkar era.

But despite the batting legend’s retirement, Dhoni is not overly concerned by the hole left in the team, stressing the inevitability of transitions in sports.

“Well, if you see, there is always a new start,” Dhoni told ESPNCricinfo after his team landed in Johannesburg on Monday. “When paaji [Tendulkar] played his first Test match, that was his first Test match.”

The wicketkeeper pointed out that India has depth, with most of the batsmen picked for the tour – including the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Murali Vijay and Ajinkya Rahane – having played plenty of limited-overs cricket.

“What’s fairly important is that they have a good amount of exposure – even though it’s ODIs – outside India,” Dhoni said.

“That always helps you adjust to the pace and bounce of the wicket. It will be a new challenge for all of them, at the same time it is a learning curve.

“It’s the first time that they will be going there, and they will learn a lot in the series.

“What they need to keep in mind, what’s really in their hands, is to prepare properly. Also, concentrate on what little things they need to do, so that they’re successful. I think it’s all about that. Good exposure.”

Dhoni, 32, is comforted by the fact that India are starting the tour with the ODIs, given their recent form in the 50-overs game.

“When you get to play the shots, you get rid of nerve factor initially. The guys will be expressing themselves, will be playing shots and then they will be carrying it forward into the Test matches as well,” he said. “The good thing is that there won’t be too many changes when you compare the Test squad to the ODI squad.”

sports@thenational.ae