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ICC World Cup: Dhoni negates possibility of playing minnows in future

After defeating UAE by a huge nine-wicket margin, skipper MS Dhoni dismisses suggestions that India would engage in playing associate nations in future due to team’s busy schedule

Perth: Less than an hour after India dismissed UAE’s meek challenge in a World Cup Group ‘B’ match at the WACA here on Saturday, beating them by nine wickets with 31.1 overs to spare, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni similarly dismissed suggestions that his team would engage in playing associate nations in future to help uplift the minnows’ level of play.


UAE’s Mohammad Naveed is bowled by R Ashwin at the WACA in Perth on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images

UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir justified his team’s poor show (batting first they were bowled out for 102 in 31.3 overs) by saying that they need to play the bigger teams more often to improve. “The more we play against these bigger nations, the more we learn and the more we perform and the better it will be for associate nations,” a disappointed Tauqir said at the post-match press conference.

Dhoni however, negated the possibility of any cricket with minnow teams in future. “I don’t see any days off to play any more cricket than we are at the moment. Most Test-playing teams have a 12-month calendar in which they play a certain number of Tests and ODIs. Our calendar is nine-and-a-half months because the rest two-and-half-months we play Indian Premier League and Champions League, and still match the other Test-playing nations in the number of Tests and ODIs.

Criticism
“Our bowlers get criticised for not being fit, looking at the workload, I think our bowlers are the fittest. And not to forget that when they get a break, they are called by their local states and here there’s no limit to how much they bowl because once an India bowler arrives, the ball is simply thrown to him and forgotten. So, though associate nations should get a more games, but please not against India,” he added.

While Dhoni’s comments maybe construed as rude, the UAE did themselves no favours with their pathetic performance with the bat yesterday.

The UAE scorecard resembled a telephone number, with as many as eight players, except Khurram Khan (14) Shaiman Anwar (35) and Manjula Guruge (10 not out), finishing in single digits. Ironically, for India it was not the pace trio of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma, but off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who exploited the extra bounce of the WACA strip to emerge with career-best 4-25 (his previous best was 3-24 vs NZ in Chennai, 2010).

Opener Rohit Sharma then got among the runs for the first time in this tournament, having failed with the bat against Pakistan (15) and South Africa (zero), to score a 55-ball 57 as India cruised to the target in 18.5 overs.


Rohit Sharma celebrates his 50

Turning point
UAE’s ability to score 270-plus in the previous two games was put to grave by the Indian bowling attack in a professional performance at the WACA. Two wickets by R Ashwin, and one wicket each for Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav pinned UAE at 41-4 in 14.5 overs, thus destroying all hopes for UAE to post a respectable total and swaying the match into a one-sided affair. 

Star of the match

WACA provides pace and bounce to the fast bowlers and arguably is the fastest pitch in the world. Against UAE however, spinner R Ashwin (right) used the pitch to his favour, exploiting the extra bounce and receiving reasonable turn off the wicket. UAE batsmen seemed clueless to his art which lead to Ashwin’s career best figures of 4-25.

Figure trigger

102
The above total is the lowest by any team against India in World Cup, outstripping 109 by Sri Lanka at Johannesburg in 2003

8
Number of UAE batsmen who ended up with single digit scores against India on Saturday

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