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Dhoni says India will bat first

Source: PTI
September 13, 2007 00:50 IST
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Aware that his team often fumbles when it comes to chasing big totals, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said he would like to bat first in the opening match of the Twenty20 World Cup against Scotland in Durban on Thursday.

"A lot depends on the conditions but we would probably love to bat first," said Dhoni.

"It's always better to bat first, and since batting is also our strength, we would like to give the opponents a big total. Also there is a lot more pressure when chasing big totals," said the cautious skipper even though India's opponents, Scotland, remain minnows in international cricket.

The Indian captain also made it clear that the batsmen would not look to play too many fancy shots and would instead try to concentrate on playing good, conventional cricket.

"If you've seen last evening's game between South Africa and the West Indies, they all played proper cricketing shots. I think, it's important to play it as a normal cricket match. The stress would be on playing conventional cricket and not doing anything extraordinary," he said

Asked whether all the excitement that happens beyond the boundary -- with cheerleaders and music creating a festive atmosphere -- affects the players, Dhoni replied in the negative.

"I don't think any cricketer gets distracted. They are too involved and focused on the game to be distracted. All the music, the cheerleaders or fans hardly matter. Remember it's the World Cup," Dhoni said.

While Dhoni wasn't willing to give out anything about his team composition, he reckoned that conditions would play an important role in influencing his decisions.

Kingsmead usually has a bouncy pitch and in recent days the wind has been pretty strong too.

"We will definitely plan out things according to the conditions here. The ball does a bit here in the evening," he said.

Dhoni is also hopeful that his young side would put up a better fielding performance.

"We have made a lot of efforts in that area. We will try and take all the catches that come our way. We will also try and save as many runs as possible because it would mean you need to score that many runs less while batting."

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