On the field, old challenge for Dhoni
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The torrential downpour in Visakhapatnam on Saturday provided yet another twist in the tale of the most anticipated comeback in Indian sport. The damp squib ensured that Yuvraj Singh will have to wait till Tuesday in Chennai before proving to the world that 'he really can'.
The washed out first T20 against New Zealand also means that skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni now has one less opportunity to tune up some of the finer aspects of his team's campaign going into the upcoming World T20 in Sri Lanka. The most pertinent among them being calibrating his field placements to ensure optimum performance. Especially since Dhoni will be leading a squad, which despite bearing a significant resemblance to five years ago on paper, is now much older and arguably lacks the same vibrancy on the field.
Not to forget that the Indian captain has made no bones in the past about his apprehensions of going in with too many senior players in the shorter formats. He had even called them liabilities in terms of his team's quest in keeping with the `every run you save on the field you gain' formula for success in T20 cricket.
"This format of the game needs a lot of energy and the fielding is very important," Dhoni has always maintained.
Five years ago, with Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly opting out, the man from Ranchi led a team bubbling with youth to South Africa. Many of those names still remain. But age has caught up with the likes of Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Gautam Gambhir too-all of whom now are on the wrong side of 30.
But back in 2007, T20 still remained an alien invention for the Indians. Since then, with the inception of the IPL among other factors, Dhoni & Co have turned into the most experienced campaigners in this format. The likes of Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma will be there of course bursting with energy as always.
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