Dhoni defends Chawla''s inclusion in World Cup squad

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Cape Town, Jan 17 (PTI) Mahendra Singh Dhoni todaydefended Piyush Chawla''s inclusion in India''s 15-man World Cupsquad, saying the legspinner''s presence provides variety tothe attack.

Chawla has been a surprise inclusion in the squad,announced today by the Kris Srikkanth-led selection committeein Chennai.

"It is good to have Piyush in the side as he providesthat variety to the attack. He is one guy who can bat a bit.

He has scored decent runs in Ranji and also while playing inCounty circuit. If we plan to play with five bowlers, then hecan be a handy number seven or eight batsman," Dhoni said onthe eve of India''s third ODI against South Africa here.

Chawla has been picked despite not playing a one-dayersince July 2008, and Dhoni was aware of that.

"I would always say that playing in first class match orIPL match and playing in the international match is different.

Piyush needs that international match practice," the Indiaskipper said.

Names like Rohit Sharma, S Sreesanth and Ishant Sharmamissed out on selection but Dhoni said that the reserveplayers should be in a proper frame of mind during thetournament.

"If you are in the reserve and if any batter or bowlergets injured then you are going to come in. So it is importantto be in a good frame of mind," he said.

"Finally you can pick only 15 players. It is not likethat you will not get chance. Have a look at the players outhere. They were not featuring in the original list. At the endof the day you can pick only 15 players and somebody is goingto miss out. So I would say that you should do well inwhenever you get to play and then wait for your chance."

Dhoni said India need to improve their fielding and focusmore on bowling at the death.

"We have to improve in the fielding department. If we getone odd run out or take few outstanding catch, it can turn thecourse of the game. At the same time we have to put in lot ofthoughts and work on bowling in the death overs. When we aregoing to play in the sub continent, bowling in the deathbecomes crucial," he said.

In Sachi Tendulkar''s absence, Virat Kohli, in alllikelihood, will open with Murali Vijay, with Rohit Sharmacoming in at number three in tomorrow''s match, Dhoni said.

"We will be looking out for giving a few players anopportunity. Even otherwise we have lost quite a few playersthrough injury. We have seven batsmen left here, so all ofthem will get exposure before the World Cup." .

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