x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sachin Tendulkar to get a run against the Black Caps

Sachin Tendulkar is back in the India team for today's warm-up game with New Zealand.

Sachin Tendulkar is to play in India's latest warm-up game for the World Cup today as the Indians look to begin raising their game ahead of the tournament start on Saturday.

The batsman had been rested because of a minor niggle for Sunday's warm-up game with Australia, but he has been cleared to play against New Zealand in Chennai today.

While he will be in action, Zaheer Khan, the pace bowler, will not be as he deals with a groin strain, but he will be fit for the opening game against Bangladesh on Saturday.

The all-clear was given by MS Dhoni, the India captain, yesterday. Of Zaheer's injury, he said: "It is nothing to worry about. It is just that we want to give him rest. He will definitely play against Bangladesh."

Dhoni also made it clear he expected a more aggressive batting performance against New Zealand after Sunday's laboured 38-run win was secured by some sparkling spin bowling rather than with the bat.

"We have to pick up a bit of intensity and this will be evident on the field in the warm-up game," he said.

Having Tendulkar back in the line-up should bolster India's batting line-up, which struggled against Australia and were at one stage 138 for eight before they rallied to a total of 214 as lower-order batsmen Yusuf Pathan (32), Ravichandran Ashwin (25 out out) and Ashish Nehra (19) all batted well.

Dhoni acknowledged that they had under-performed with the bat, adding: "We needed a good partnership in the middle. But that did not happen.

"However, the lower order clicked. The score of 215 was not big but our spinners bowled very well. We want to score more runs in the warm-up and try various bowling options."

As to how he thinks his team are looking pre-tournament, with a lot of pressure on them as one of the co-hosts, Dhoni said: "As far as the team is concerned, I feel we have got a very good side.

"It is not about the kind of players we have got on paper, but what we do on field that matters at the end of the day."

Dhoni added that there will not be an automatic first eleven for the tournament, and instead the team will be judged on pitch conditions before each match.

"We have options. But the selection will depend on the condition of the wicket," he said.

Dhoni expects his side to be well tested today against the Black Caps, who have proven themselves to be consistent performers in the competition, having reached the semi-finals on five previous occasions, and are coached by John Wright, who had a five-year spell as India coach.

"New Zealand have always been a very contributive side and they always don't depend on any one particular batsman or one particular bowler to win the game," said Dhoni.

"What they need is that everyone to contribute. They are a very talented side."