x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

India eye top spot in both formats

India will fancy their chances of defeating Sri Lanka in their opening Tri-Nations Tournament match today, as they look to add the title of best one-day side to their status as the top Test nation.

India will fancy their chances of defeating Sri Lanka in their opening Tri-Nations Tournament match today, as they look to add the title of best one-day side to their status as the top Test nation. India could become the premier one-day team in the world if they win this series with a 100 per cent record and Pakistan defeat Australia comprehensively later this month. India have taken a strong side for the series in Bangladesh and have been boosted by the return from injury of middle-order dynamo Yuvraj Singh.

Gautam Gambhir is likely to open the batting with Virender Sehwag after regular opener Sachin Tendulkar asked to be omitted for the tournament. Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Sreesanth and the rookie Sudeep Tyagi will form the seam attack. One factor threatening to undermine India's hopes of becoming No 1 in two formats of the game is their lack of specialist coaches. MS Dhoni, the India captain, has complained about the lack of assistance to help head coach Gary Kirsten. The Board of Control for Cricket in India sacked bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad and fielding coach Robin Singh after criticism of performances in the ICC Champions Trophy.

With Kirsten, the former South Africa opener, tasked with controlling all aspects of training it is no surprise that the team's bowling and fielding have been questioned by supporters who feel the bowlers have been guilty of losing focus in recent series. "To some extent it does hurt not having a bowling coach. "If you have a specialist coach he is always interacting with the bowlers and trying to get the best out of them," said Dhoni.

"Kirsten has to look after everything: he has to sit and talk to the batsmen, bowlers, fielders, build strategies and look after team building." * With agencies