Tuesday 22 January 2008 

India Deny Claims Of Rift Over One-Day Selection

India vice-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has denied reports of a rift in the team over the selection of the one-day squad to tour Australia.

There has been an angry reaction in India to the omission of Saurav Ganguly from the squad, with newspapers reporting a split in the ranks.

But Dhoni, who will captain the one-day side when test skipper Anil Kumble returns home after this week's final test in Adelaide, said there were no problems in the India camp.

"I think it has affected journalists more than it has us," he told a news conference on Tuesday.

"We are back in the practice session, we trained in the morning. It has not affected us anyway."

India will be joined by Sri Lanka in a triangular one-day series starting in Australia next month.

Dhoni refused to talk about the make-up of the squad until the final test is over but said spirits within the Indian camp were high and they were confident of winning the final test to square the four-match series.

"It's a very happy unit we have at the moment," he said.

"We have played well and it will be a moral victory to come to Australia and not let them beat us comfortably."

FIVE BOWLERS

Dhoni was also reluctant to speculate on the line-up for the final test, starting at Adelaide Oval on Thursday, but said the tourists were considering starting with five bowlers.

The tourists played three pacemen and a lone spinner in last week's third test win in Perth but could play an extra spinner in Adelaide because the traditionally flat pitch usually turns.

Paceman Irfan Pathan was named man of the match in Perth after replacing Harbhajan Singh but the spinner is expected to make a comeback.

India's other two seamers, strike bowler Rudra Pratap Singh and impressive teenager Ishant Sharma, also performed strongly in Perth, troubling the Australians with their swing, to ensure they are chosen again.

Dhoni admitted the Indian selectors faced a tricky decision on the line-up and it would ultimately depend on the state of the pitch.

"If we play with five bowlers that means you have to sacrifice one batsman," he said.

"It's always a pleasure to have bowlers in a test team because you know every bowler has the capacity to take wickets.

"It really helps to have five bowlers but you have to compromise on lots of other things.

"We have not had a look at the wicket yet but the think-tank and the management will decide on that."

© Reuters 2008


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