FRESH FROM A BREAK, India's limited overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni looked all set to lead the Indian team down under for five ODIs and three T20Is. Having last played an ODI on October 25 against South Africa, Dhoni has used the break well to get into a better physical shape.
More than the ODIs the focus will be on the T20Is as it comes as a dress rehearsal before the World T20 starting in March in India. Dhoni is clear in his head that he'll be trying to get his bowling combinations right before the World T20 at home.
"We always knew that we would be playing three T20s there. Conditions will be different when we play the World T20 at home but it's good to have this opportunity," Dhoni told Times of India.
"We have ample opportunity to try different players in different slots and try different bowling combinations. We will be in a better position by the start of the World T20 regarding what our playing XI should look like and what will be the best strategy," Dhoni added before the team's departure to Australia.
For Dhoni the batting more or less takes care of itself and he doesn't have much to worry about, but it's the bowling that needs attention.
"I have always maintained that you cannot go in (a series or a tournament) with a fixed plan, saying these are my death bowlers. I have to see how they are bowling every day and accordingly change my plan," he said. "Using spinners at times or at times using a particular fast bowler who is doing well. It's about that moment."
Ravichandran Ashwin who was ICC best bowler of 2015, has grown under Dhoni's Chennai Super Kings' days and the skipper is happy to see him progress into a world class bowler today.
"He started off really well (in 2010-11)," said Dhoni of Ashwin. "Then he slightly went down to some extent. That was the time when he was criticized a lot for his variation and everything. But the thing about him is that he thinks a lot about his bowling, which is a positive. The transition was bound to happen and I'm glad he came out of it."
Acccording to Dhoni, Ashwin will be his strike bowler and the go-to-man, especially in ODIs along with Ravindra Jadeja.
"Ashwin is not someone who has bowled from 11th to 35th over. I have used him in the first 10 overs and also from 40-45. He has been good and just makes my job slightly easy, especially during times when my fast bowlers have not done well," said Dhoni.