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Dhoni wants hat-trick of tons from Yuvraj

November 19, 2008 15:23 IST

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is confident that stylish batsman Yuvraj Singh would go on to complete his hat-trick of tons in the third ODI against England on Thursday.

"I hope he scores his third consecutive century here and that would suit the team as well," Dhoni said after practice session at the Green Park Stadium on Wednesday.

Yuvraj has been in murderous form against England, hitting a 78-ball 138 in Rajkot and following it up with a 118 in Indore, apart from four wickets as well.

Dhoni doffed his hat at the Punjab batsman and said it was a pleasure to watch him on song.

"On song, Yuvraj is simply one of the best, even the top bowlers struggle against him," Dhoni observed.

"As a captain, I have noticed that all big players who slog down the order are left-handers, probably because the bowlers have sorted out the right-handers. They can bowl yorker or low full toss to a right-hander but struggle to find the right line for the left-handers.

"Yuvraj really stands out for he is a strong-hitter and hits along the ground," Dhoni said.

Asked what his advice to Yuvraj was, Dhoni quipped "I tell him see the ball, hit the ball. At times when a player goes through bad patch, you have to keep him motivated. But all the players in the team are very talented and you cannot really change their basics. All you can do is to motivate them," Dhoni said.

The trio of Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag were conspicuous in their absence at today's nets and Dhoni said they had decided to opt out of the session to catch some rest.

"See, all of them have been continuously playing for a long time and that's why they decided to opt out of practice."

Ishant Sharma, declared fit for the match, had a long spell in the nets today and Dhoni was effusive in his praise for the lanky pacer.

"In the Test series against Australia, he bowled long spells and was tired. But even then, bowling his third spell of the day, he gave it his best and bowled his heart out, putting in the same amount of effort. You have to take care of kids like him," he said.

"He is just 19 or 20, you have to make sure that he does not sustain injuries and remains in the right frame of mind."

In India's pace department, R P Singh looked off-colour in the first two ODIs against England but Dhoni threw his weight behind the pacer, saying he needed team's backing.

"Look, he has not played with the team for a while and it's always difficult to make a comeback. It is at times like this that... you need to completely back him. He has been one of the best bowlers against England and even though he is looking a bit rusty, the team will back him and we hope he comes back strong," Dhoni said.

Overall, Dhoni was happy with the way the entire team gelled and said it was equally important to enjoy the game.

"We got to enjoy the game as well. At times, pressure mounts on us but we need to overcome that and remain aggressive and expressive on the field. At times, we enjoy going to amusement parks or movies and we also enjoy each other's company and success," he said.

Amlan Chakraborty
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