India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is looking forward to the challenge of working with a different set of players when he leads a second string squad to a limited-overs tour of Zimbabwe beginning on June 11.
Dhoni will lead a new looking squad in the absence of seniors like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan and Ravichandran Ashwin.
“I think it will be a very different experience (for me), the reason being you keep playing with almost the same group of players, so you know the roles and responsibility. There will be quite a few players in this bilateral series whom I will be playing with for the first time,” said Dhoni at the pre-departure media conference in Mumbai on Tuesday.
“So I will have to quickly assess what their strengths are and at the same time, depending on the team composition, what is the best possible slot or best possible manner the individual can be utilised. The composition looks good. It’s a good team,” he said.
The team will be playing three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals against Zimbabwe between June 11 and 22, with all the matches scheduled to be played at Harare.
Dhoni felt toss would be a crucial factor as all were day games.
“Zimbabwe is one venue where toss is vital. There are not many places where you play a day game. If you play a day game toss will be crucial, so you will have to adapt and use the condition to your advantage.”
Compared to batting, the bowling has more international experience, felt Dhoni.
“The bowling looks good on paper. Whatever I have seen them bowl. They are a much improved lot.(Jasprit) Bumrah has improved, Barinder (Sran) has shown improvement, Akshar (Patel) and (Yuzvendra) Chahal — they are veterans in limited overs cricket. Jayant (Yadav) is there.
“Batting – it depends on the slot available to a particular player. When you come to play for India you don’t get your favourite slot. You can show adaptability at a particular position, how well you understand the game, how much you can adapt and change. Overall both look good. You may say bowling has a bit more exposure to international cricket than batting,” he elaborated.
Dhoni again emphasised that IPL cannot be equated to international cricket.
“I have always said IPL is a platform where you identify talent. It’s very different because it is still a form of domestic cricket. You play with international cricketers, but it is slightly different. The moment you are told that you are representing India, there is a different pressure,” he said.
“But when it comes to Indian cricket team it’s slightly different. You have more responsibility. Zimbabwe can be challenging, but when it comes to talent aspect the squad looks good, in fact most of them have been rewarded for the domestic performances, most of them are good fielders that will be another part of cricket,” he explained further.