Gambhir in, Nehra out; Dhoni confident
Mumbai April 2:
Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said left-arm pacer Ashish Nehra has been ruled out while dashing batsman Gautam Gambhir would be available for Saturday's World Cup final against Sri Lanka.
Nehra suffered multiple fractures on his finger, while Gambhir had strained his hamstrings during the semi-final clash against Pakistan. "Gautam looks good right now. Ashish is most likely to be ruled out. He has got multiple fractures in one of the fingers, so Gautam, most likely, I think is fit for the game," said Dhoni.
Dhoni said his team is ready for the final. "You are in the moment. Yesterday, we had a good night sleep. You get up in the morning, come for the practice, and it's hardly now 14 or 20 hours before the start of the game. So, in a way, it's good. You are not thinking too much of the future," said Dhoni.
"You are just being in the present, and preparing yourself for the big game because you want to do well in a tournament like this, and especially it's being held in India. You never know when you will get an opportunity to again play in the World Cup, and secondly, when the World Cup is being held in the subcontinent," he added. Dhoni said he was proud leading the team.
"Well, irrespective of what the result is, I am really proud of the team that I have got. You know, each and every individual knows his role and responsibility. Everyone has helped each other perform and that's what is important as when you are part of team sport, when you are supported with 10 other people on the field and four others as your bench strength," said Dhoni.
"What you want is each and everyone to enjoy each other's success. So, I know it's the result that makes this team good. It's just that the team's atmosphere is really good. Each and every individual is very special, and you are dealing with, if not 15, 12 to 13 stars who have won games on their own. So, it's a very special side," he added.
On Sachin Tendulkar, who is playing his last World Cup, Dhoni said: "He is an amazing person to have, I think the attitude has not changed for the last 21 years. You know, most of the people, I think, everyone will lose interest but with Sachin, I think, God just made him to play cricket and he is doing that since past 21 years and a few more years to come." Dhoni hinted that temperamental fast bowler Shantakumaran Sreesanth may replace Nehra.
"If you see the Mumbai track, there's a bit of pace and bounce for the seamers initially and there is a bit of reverse swing going. The third seamer can have an impact on the game. An extra seamer means I am able to maneuver the bowlers," Dhoni said at the pre-match press conference. "If you have three spinners along with a part-timer you don't have room for manoeuvre. But whatever opportunity Ashwin has got, he has done really well. We have confidence in him but we are not clear about whether to go with three seamers or two seamers and one extra spinner," he said.
"Don't look at it as the final but as another game. Sree has done well for us in most of the games he has played, he has done well. He's one character who can definitely swing the ball and get you early wickets. Choosing one individual over other is difficult but let's hope whoever gets chosen will perform at his best," he said. "Unfortunately, we have not been able to give him more chances to play. Even in the first game, I thought he did not bowl badly. After that, we gave chances to other individuals which I think were needed at that point of time. It's more about who suits the condition more. Let's hope whoever plays just performs," said Dhoni.
Dhoni said the only person who can control Sreesanth is Sreesanth himself. "It's beyond my control. He's a player who gets excited when it comes to big games. If he's playing he will be in a good frame of mind." Dhoni said the format of the tournament has helped Indians build up momentum and peak for the most important clash Saturday at the right time. "We slowly gained momentum which is very important. If you are too focused and intense from the start, it becomes difficult to keep that intensity going for 40 days. I think the format of the tournament gave us time to get into the groove of being at our best. We peaked at the right time and continued to grow with the tournament," he said.