MS Dhoni doubtful for 3rd ODI due to sore back, Dinesh Karthik called up.India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni may miss the final ODI match against Pakistan to be played on Sunday.Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni was on Saturday rendered a doubtful starter for Sunday’s third and final One-dayer against Pakistan due to a sore back, forcing the team management to call up Dinesh Karthik as the back up.
Dhoni said at the customary pre-match press conference that he developed soreness on his back during the morning practice session at the Feroze Shah Kotla ground here.Having conceded the 3-match series to the visitors after losing the opening two clashes in Chennai and Kolkata respectively, the final match is being looked at as a chance to save face.The Indian players on Saturday were seen training hard under the watchful eyes of Saba Karim and Vikram Rathoure.
The two selectors also reportedly spoke separately to Dhoni and Virender Sehwag ahead of the third match.He was actually asked about the absence of middle-order batsman Yuvraj Singh at the training session and the skipper said, “If at all somebody is doubtful, it’s me. I have a sore back and we have called Dinesh Karthik as back up.
“Since it was an optional practice session, Yuvraj did not come,” he said.
The beleaguered Indian batting line-up could come under more pressure if Dhoni sits out on Sunday. He has been India’s top scorer in the series with a 113 not out in the first match in Chennai and an unbeaten 54 in the second in Kolkata. Asked if it would be a setback for Indian batting, which has been struggling to put up decent scores against Pakistan in the first two matches, Dhoni replied in the negative.
“Nobody is irreplaceable. I am sure if Dinesh plays tomorrow, he will bat as good as I batted in the last two games,” he said.
“It’s important to back players. Yes, we are going through a tough period but we field the best eleven. If we go by criticism or by media, probably we would need 30-40 teams. Had I put myself under such pressure, I would have broken down by now,” Dhoni said.
A section of media had claimed that Indian team members, especially the skipper and the coach, do not speak to each other much after a match but Dhoni said it’s not like that.
“It’s not that we are not talking. We have meetings but having 15 types of different meetings does not help.”
Dhoni has been India’s batting mainstay in the series against Pakistan with an unbeaten 113 in Chennai and unbeaten half-century in Kolkata. Asked if it would weaken the Indian batting further if he sits out on Sunday due to sore back, Dhoni said, “Our batting is good but we have not performed. No individual is irreplaceable.
“The new boys are as good, it’s just that they have not got enough chances. If Dinesh gets a chance, he will play as good as I played in the last two games. It’s important that our top order clicks.”
Dhoni hoped that the Feroze Shah Kotla wicket will behave the same in both the innings. “It’s difficult wicket. It’s difficult to predict. But hopefully it will remain similar after the first half,” he said.
When a Pakistani journalist asked about his viewpoint on the visiting side, Dhoni said, “They have a balanced side. They play with five bowlers. Hafeez and Malik also bowl. They have more options and they are consistent. We have not batted well to test them.” The Indian captain said that there was not much difference in ODIs due to new rules but India were struggling due to the lack of a fifth bowler.
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