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Team Missing Bowling And Fielding Coaches: Dhoni

PTI 01 Jan 2010, 21:17:57 IST

Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday in Mumbai said the team is missing bowling and fielding coaches, resulting in an increased workload for chief coach Gary Kirsten.

Talking to reporters on the eve of the team's departure for the tri-series in Bangladesh, Dhoni said Kirsten had his plate full and the team was indeed missing bowling and fielding coaches.

"To some extent, it does (affect the team). You need specialist coach to get the best out of the players. Gary looks after so many things. He has all those team meetings, talking to batsmen, bowlers and then working out strategies. He has a lot on his plate," Dhoni said.

"It does help to have specialist bowling and fielding coaches for the bowlers and fielders. But that's the way it and it's now an administrative issue," he said.

Both the posts are lying vacant since BCCI sacked bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad and fielding coach Robin Singh in October after the team fared badly in the Twenty20 World Cup in England and the Champions Trophy in South Africa.

Even though BCCI roped in Australian Mike Young for a short stint during the recent Twenty20 and ODI series against Sri Lanka, the team is now again without a fielding coach.

"Mike is not available for this tour. He came with the basic techniques and went slow as he did not want the players to get injured. He won't be around but with the help of other support staff it's important to go ahead with that. Fielding is one aspect of the game that is important whatever be the format of the game," Dhoni said.

Accepting the need to lift the team's fielding standard, Dhoni said, "We dropped quite a few catches in the last series. We will try to rectify that. Whatever good fielders we have we will try to make them the best in the world because it really helps, especially in the middle overs, with four good fielders inside the circle who can save the singles," he said.

Dhoni was also candid enough to admit that the bowlers were grappling with issues like bowling at death and slow over-rate, which incurred the India captain a two-match ban during the ODI series against the Lankans.

"We struggled early in the series but improved a lot in the later matches. We have struggled a bit in the death overs but if we can do something in patches, we can do it consistently as well. We can restrict any good side to a decent total. It's slightly improving but I think we can manage it," Dhoni said.

"Regarding over-rate, we have a lot of part-timers, who are mostly spinners and they can save us time. We have (Virender) Sehwag, Yuvraj (Singh), (Suresh) Raina and Rohit Sharma as well. So if we can save time up front, it is not going to be an issue," Dhoni explained.

Looking ahead, Dhoni said India, who rose to occupy the top slot in the ICC Test ratings at the end of 2009, would play 8-9 Tests this year and this was a sufficient figure.

"The exact schedule has not been fixed but after everything is fixed up, we may end up playing eight or nine Tests matches which are sufficient," said Dhoni.

India played only six Tests in 2009 and currently are scheduled to play two Tests each against Bangladesh and South Africa (at home) and three against New Zealand and another three at the end of the year against South Africa (away).

Sri Lanka are the third team in the Bangladesh tri-series that commences at Mirpur on January 4.

Dhoni said though India have just played a long series of Tests, Twenty20s and ODIs against Lanka, the presence of Bangladesh gives the series a tougher look.

"We have played Sri Lanka quite a number of times in the last few years. That's the way it is. We are happy to play international cricket. It's going to be a triangular series, it will be a bit more exciting. We are hoping this would be a continuity to the last series we played (against Lanka). Bangladesh is a good side and can beat any side on their day. We have to be fully prepared," he said.

Talking about 2009 Dhoni said overall it was a satisfying year for the team as the younger players utilised the opportunity they got. PTI