Dhoni: Australia series, a learning curve for youngsters

If India manages to win the series, the side will once again top the ICC ODI Rankings, removing Australia from the number one position.

M. S. Dhoni insisted that the ODI series would not be a revenge mission for the World Cup defeat.   -  K. Bhagya Prakash

The Indian captain’s press conference ahead of the first One-Day International started on a light note, with a confusion between the media manager and reporters forcing Mahendra Singh Dhoni to state, “Good start.”

Back at the helm of things after India's Test series against South Africa, Dhoni said: "Australians are known to play tough cricket irrespective of where they are competing. Which means it will give our youngsters, our players who are a part of our side a fair amount of exposure and a lot of experience. As I said it will be a very good learning curve for the youngsters and at the same time it will test the seniors who are the part of the side."

> Listen to M. S. Dhoni's full press conference here

Going by Dhoni’s words, youngsters like Brainder Sran are likely to get a chance to impress. “You play to your strengths. Especially for the youngsters, who will get a chance to play. It is very important that whatever they have been doing in the domestic circuit and the India A tours, they need to make sure they do the same thing over here. They need to replicate the kind of performances they have been giving.”

Dhoni expressed dejection at the loss of Mohammed Shami, but felt it would be good to see how the new players would handle the pressure. “Shami has been very good for us. If you see the World Cup, he was somebody who bowled really well for us. He can bowl well with a new ball, in the middle overs and also in the death. It is always good to have such kind of bowlers. It's sad we lost him to an injury. As far as newcomers are concerned, we will definitely feature them in the tournament and also we want to see where they stand,” Dhoni said.

The last time India won an ODI series in Australia was in 2008. It has been eight years since then and despite playing one bilateral series and one tri-series since 2008, India have always been trounced by the home side.

If India manages to win the series, the side will once again top the ICC ODI Rankings, removing Australia from the number one position.

“It is the games which gives you the rating. It is important for us to take one game at a time. We are not looking at the series as a whole. To start off well is very important. Ratings are dependent on the performance of the team, so it is important for us to do the small things right. It is a bilateral series where a lot of new individuals will get a chance. It will be very exciting.”

When asked about what India is doing special, Dhoni replied playfully, “If I tell you everything there is nothing called strategy.”

Furthermore, Dhoni insisted that the ODI series would not be a revenge mission for the World Cup defeat.

“You want to compete, you want to win the game because at the end of the day you are representing your country. But at the same time, you have to follow the guidelines that have been laid down, the spirit of the game. It starts from small basic things. So, I won't consider the word revenge. But definitely we will like to do well. We want to get a lot out of this particular series.”