It''s a good opportunity for youngsters: Dhoni

Written by: Manoj Kumar Ramesh
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Durban, Jan 11 (PTI) India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhonitoday said that the spate of injuries to key players hasprovided the youngsters a perfect opportunity to prove theirworth and stake claim in the squad.

Dhoni said that instead of putting themselves underpressure, the youngsters should use the opportunity to scoreruns and impress the selectors.

"It''s a good opportunity for them. Rather than taking itas an extra pressure scenario it''s always better to take it asan opportunity to score runs and give the selectors a lot moreoptions. We tour a lot abroad, we go to England, we go toSouth Africa.

"If you score here you''ll get a bit of priority over someof the others," Dhoni said on the eve of the five-match ODIseries against South Africa starting tomorrow.

"It''s a win-win situation for them, they will be underless pressure slightly, and it can work in our favour," headded.

Dhoni also has his eyes firmly trained on the World Cup,scheduled to be held from February 19 to April 2 in India, SriLanka and Bangladesh, saying the team doesn''t want to run therisk of injuries to key players going into the quadrennialextravaganza, even if it meant playing with a depleted team.

"It would have been good to feature the main XI. Sincelast February, as you are saying, we haven''t played the fullXI that may feature in the first game of the World Cup. But weare risking injury. We have to save quite a few players. Wehave a fair amount of niggles.

"We don''t want to miss any of the key players just beforethe start of the World Cup. Most of them have missed the wholeseason. I don''t mind them missing one more season as long asthey are available right through the World Cup," the Indiaskipper said.

India lived upto their number Test ranking by sharinghonours with the hosts in the three-match Test series, andDhoni said the secret to performing well in South Africa liesin adopting a cautious approach against the new ball.

"You have to respect the bowlers right from the verystart. The white Kookaburra ball does a bit initially, whichmeans if you see the new ball off, the ball comes on to thebat nicely and lets you play your strokes.

"Most of the grounds are not very big. If you compare,size-wise they may be the same size as most of the Indiangrounds, but because of the nature of the wicket it seems likethey are smaller," Dhoni said. .

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