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Raina, Ashwin likely to play, hints Dhoni

Posted by on March 19, 2011 1 Comment

Chennai, March 19 (IANS) Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni Saturday gave enough indications that both Suresh Raina and Ravichandran Ashwin will play against the West Indies Sunday in their concluding World Cup Group B game here.

Dhoni also confirmed that opening batsman Virender Sehwag was nursing an “allergic reaction on the right knee” and the team would decide on his inclusion either Friday night or prior to the game Sunday.

When asked about the playing eleven, Dhoni said at the customary pre-match media conference: “You will have to wait till tomorrow (Sunday), but everyone will get a game before the knock-out.”

Middle-order batsman Raina and off-spinner Ashwin are the only two among the squad of 15 still to play a match in the ongoing World Cup.

When specifically asked whether he would opt for two off-spinners (Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh), Dhoni said: “You will have to wait until tomorrow (Sunday).”

In response to another query, Dhoni said the playing eleven would depend on the pitch conditions.

The game, however, will be of academic interest following South Africa’s big win against Bangladesh at Dhaka Saturday and will decide the final positions of teams in the group.

The result confirmed the entry of South Africa (10 points), India (7), and England (7) into the quarter-finals from Group B. West Indies (6 points) are also through to the knockout unless they go down to India by a huge margin.

Dhoni’s counterpart Darren Sammy said the approach of the West Indies to the game would be to win, regardless of the result of the Mirpur game.

“Obviously since we are cricketers, we are watching the game in Mirpur, but our focus is on what we need to do against India tomorrow (Sunday),” said Sammy.

The West Indies skipper would not disclose the team composition while saying that a decision would be taken later, but hoped to win the toss and bat first.

“We played England on a wicket that looks a lot similar. I think both teams would agree that it still had more runs. Nice to see in the second innings, the ball did spin a bit more.

“Hopefully, I will win the toss and bat first and our spinners can exploit the wicket bowling second,” he said.

Sammy clarified that there were no fitness issues in the team and that opening batsman Chris Gayle, who played the game against England after recovering from an abdominal strain, had recovered fully.

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