Tough to replace Sachin: Dhoni

Published: Thursday, August 14, 2008, 11:50 [IST]
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Colombo: Indian captain Dhoni on Wednesday expressed concerns over Tendulkar's absence in the upcoming five-match ODI series and said it might have some negative impact.

Talking to mediapersons after he arrived here this evening, Dhoni said, ''Sachin's presence in the dressing room and in the field virtually makes a big difference, in terms of his talents and timely advice. Losing him at this point of time can be crucial.''

Tendulkar, who did not perform up to his potentials and expectations during the recently concluded three-Test series against Sri Lanka, suffered an elbow injury in the third and final Test and was subsequently ruled out for the One-day series against Sri Lanka.

The master blaster, though named for the ODI series, has flown back to India and replaced by Tamil Nadu batsman S Badrinath.

Dhoni and few of his young teammates, including Irfan Pathan arrived in Colombo nearly four hours late due to flight delay.

The Indian captain said physically he was ''fully fit'' to play the series against Sri Lanka and added that he has got a good blend of young, energetic and experience players for the series.

Commenting on Sri Lanka's new spin sensation, Ajantha Mendis, who picked up 26 wickets in the Test series against Sri Lanka to become the man-of-the-series, Dhoni said the team was having a good look at his bowling using video clips and is making preparations to take him on.

''He is certainly a different spin bowler. You have to frame your mind more than the body to face him and we have got the frame of mind,'' Dhoni said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's jubilant captain Mahela Jayawardena said his team was very cautious about ''not to be complacent'' after the Test victory over India. ''This is a different version of the game altogether and we should get our gameplan right as much as we did for the Test series,'' Jayawardene said.

Hailing the match-winning performance of his Test debutant, Ajantha Mendis, Jayawardene said his emergence as the match-winning bowler along with Muralitharan had given him much options to work around with the players. ''We always focus on performing as a team and Ajantha is a member of that team. He will be working according to the game plan and the task assigned to him,'' Jayawardene asserted.

Opening batsman Malinda Warnapura, who has shown his talent with the bat during the Test series, has been drafted in the 15-member Sri Lankan squad that will take on India in a five match ODI series beginning next week in Dambulla.

Warnapura is the third opener in the side backing up veteran Sanath Jayasuriya and Mahela Udawatta.


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