India are waiting on the fitness of Yuvraj Singh ahead of the first one-day international against Sri Lanka in Rajkot.
India's Yuvraj in race to be fit
India are waiting on the fitness of Yuvraj Singh ahead of today's first one-day international against Sri Lanka in Rajkot. The middle-order batsman and left-arm spinner injured a finger while fielding during the second Twenty20 game in Mohali at the weekend, which India won by six wickets. Yuvraj has received treatment for the injury, but captain MS Dhoni indicated the team were willing to wait until the last minute to make a decision on his inclusion.
"He has been given an injection, we will see how he feels before the game and then make a decision," he said. "If he does not play, there is a good chance Virat Kohli will take his place." India defeated Sri Lanka in the Test series, while the two teams shared the Twenty20 honours, each winning one match. India's Twenty20 games were marked by a poor performance in the field and Dhoni admitted that, along with their wayward bowling towards the end of games, was an area of concern.
"The fielding is a bit of a concern," he said. "It has been a problem area for some time and we have been focusing on that aspect a little more ever since Mike [Young, India's new American fielding consultant] has joined us. "But he needs time and few good sessions before he can make an impact, there are a few youngsters who have come into the side and the responsibility will be on them to show how good they can be in the field.
"Once you have at least four good fielders, you can stop the batsmen, especially Sanath Jayasuriya, from getting those singles. "He does a lot of running between the wickets especially in the middle overs. It would crucial to stop those easy runs. We also need to improve our bowling at the death. Variation is important, but at the same time you have to bowl good yorkers and I think that is the key.
"We have done well in patches but we need to be more consistent, especially in the last 10 overs." Dhoni was also wary of Sri Lanka spin great Muttiah Muralitharan, despite his poor performance in the Test series. "What has happened until now counts for nothing," Dhoni said. "He is still a great bowler and can have an impact on the game at any time in the series." The India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh hopes his side can cap a fantastic year with victory over the Sri Lankan sin the five-match one-day international series.
India moved to the top of the ICC's rankings for Test teams with their series victory over today's opponents. However, they have struggled with inconsistency in the one-day format this year, but are hoping to finish 2009 on a high note. "We cannot afford to drop our guard and become complacent," Harbhajan said. "Every time we take the field, we go out with the intention of winning the game. We will strive to finish the year with a series victory."
Sri Lanka have been fined for maintaining a slow over-rate during the second Twenty20 international against India in Mohali. Kumar Sangakkara's side were found to be two overs short of their target after time allowances were taken into consideration prompting the fines from the match referee Jeff Crowe . * With agencies