Kingston : After playing in cooler climes for over five months, adapting to hot, humid conditions of the Caribbean isles will be the key to his team’s success in the four-match ODI series against West Indies, feels India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
After playing two Tests, five One-dayers and two Twenty20 games in New Zealand in March-April, the Indians went to South Africa for the Indian Premier League (IPL) before moving to England for the World Twenty20. In all the three countries the players had to brave cold, windy conditions.
Now in the West Indies they will have to literally sweat it out. The first of the two ODIs in the Digicel Series is played at the Sabina Park Friday.
Dhoni said the players were getting used to the searing conditions, spending more time outdoors, after being in jumpers for five months.
“It’s all about adaptability because after five months for the first time we will be playing in hot and humid conditions. In the last five months wherever we have toured it had been cold,” Dhoni said after a practice session in the sweltering heat and oppressive humidity here Thursday.
“We have prepared ourselves quite well. The last few days we spent lots of time outdoors getting accustomed to the conditions,” Dhoni said.
The Indian team has been playing non-stop cricket for over a year. Injury and fatigue was seen as a major reason for their miserable performance in the World Twenty20 in England.
Dhoni, however, said their was no lack of motivation in the team.
“Motivation is never a problem when it comes to the India cricket team. The guys are well motivated. It’s not about the long season we have been through, it is not the first time we have gone through a long season, that’s not a worry.”
In 2006, India lost the ODI series here 4-1, and then shockingly failed to progress beyond the group stage of the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean.
In their last ODI clash at Sabina Park here in 2006, West Indies beat India by one run in a thriller.
“It’s not an easy thing to forget especially that World Cup.”
“The last time we toured here we didn’t have a very good One-day Series, but we have the players to do well out this time,” Dhoni said.
Dhoni said the Sabina Park pitch will favour spinners and batsmen have to be watchful.
“The wicket can be a bit on the slower side, so it won’t be easy to go after the bowlers, you have to work your innings through and spinners will play a crucial role,” Dhoni said.
West Indies skipper Chris Gayle agreed with Dhoni’s observations, saying the pitch has been playing slower than in had done the past.
“It was a bit slow in the last international game here, which was a Test against England, the pitch assisted spinners in the last couple of days, but this is a One-day International, so we don’t know what to expect. Hopefully we will get good weather and we will get a good game of cricket.”