IPL 2016: Combination on Dhoni's mind as Supergiants meet KXIP
Mohali: Getting his team composition right will be Mahendra Singh Dhoni's primary aim as Rising Pune Supergiants meet an out-of-sorts Kings XI Punjab in an Indian Premier League cricket tournament encounter, here tomorrow.
While the IPL debutants Supergiants have a win and a loss to show for their efforts, Kings XI Punjab has been beaten comprehensively in both their matches as they are already at the bottom of the heap.
Since the league has just about completed the first week, the tables can be turned upside down with a few back-to-back wins, which both the teams will be aiming for.
For India's limited overs captain Dhoni, it has always been about getting his combination right. He has believed in a set of players while ICC World T20 was on and persisted with them throughout the tournament despite some criticism by the pundits.
In CSK, it was a different scenario, where the Chennai franchise always had half the battle won at the auction table itself which resulted in their consistent show over the years.
But in Pune, Dhoni is yet to figure out what exactly should be the combination.
"We need to look at the team composition," Dhoni had said at the post-match press conference after his team's defeat against Gujarat Lions.
While RP Singh has been Dhoni's trusted lieutenant in the India team once upon a time but the left-arm seamer has lost a lot of his sting and perhaps is not same bowler that he used to be in 2007-08 phase.
Similarly with Ishant Sharma, the problem has always been his lack of consistency in the shorter formats which has prevented him from getting longer ropes either for national team or the franchise team.
If Dhoni looks at his team, he will find that other two Indian options are Irfan Pathan and Iswar Pandey. While Pathan is no longer the player he used to be but his batting can give Dhoni a chance to play him in the playing XI.
Right-arm pacer Pandey has also not been an IPL regular but can generate a bit of bounce and swing.
Dhoni did give Ashwin his full quota of overs but the past few months in shortest format has not been the best for the Tamil Nadu tweaker. His statemate Murugan Ashwin has done decently in his debut season.
The bowler who has had stand-out performance is Ranji legend Rajat Bhatia, who has kept batsmen under check bowling his gentle medium pacers with occasional cutters.