Dhoni bats for his misfiring openers, says Sehwag, Vijay need more time

So strong was Mahendra Singh Dhoni's defence of his playing XI that it seemed the Indian skipper was hinting at retaining the victorious Chennai combination for the second Test, starting at Hyderabad on Saturday.

During the press conference, Dhoni began by saying that with three Tests to go, "this (current line-up) looks like a very settled batting and bowling combination." Subsequently, he called Ravindra Jadeja a talented and economical bowler who needs to slightly improve his batting. Bhuvneshwar Kumar's batting effort were appreciated in the same breadth, as he subsequently dismissed the the idea of a three spinner-one pacer combination. His reasoning: "When you play too many spinners, one gets under-utilised."

When it came down to the batting department, the focus was obviously on the two openers — Virender Sehwag and Murali Vijay. The Test had started with a question mark over their form, but nothing has changed in the five days since. Sehwag and Vijay were terribly short of runs but Dhoni lent his support to them. "Vijay has played this game and let's continue with him and give him some time to feel comfortable enough to feel wanted here," he said.

This was followed by him answering the slightly loaded query about the new-look Sehwag and the hand-eye co-ordination of the man with glasses. "First innings he was unfortunate because he middled the ball, yet it came back and fell on the stump. Second innings, there was not much pace for him to play freely. So I think we just need to give him more time," he said.

Cards on the table

By supporting all those under the scanner, Dhoni seemed to have put his cards on the table for the second Test. However, he did add that the final decision on the playing XI will be made after looking at the pitch conditions in Hyderabad. Besides, Dhoni, as was the case in Chennai where he dropped Pragyan Ojha, has a knack of springing up a surprise.

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