Dhoni wary of Mendis threat
India’s limited-overs skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes Sri
Lanka’s new bowling weapon, unorthodox spinner Ajantha Mendis, will
provide the sternest of tests for his side on their impending tour of
Playing in just his eighth international, Mendis used a dizzying
array of deliveries to rip through the Indian batting order with figures
of 6-13 as Sri Lanka eased to a 100-run victory in the Asia Cup final in
Pakistan on Sunday.
The 23-year-old was recognised as the man of the tournament for his
17-wicket contribution and his impact was highlighted by India’s
“He is a difficult bowler and we will have to prepare ourselves for
him in the coming series,” Dhoni said after the final.
“The good thing is that we will be playing the test matches first and
we have experienced batsmen in the test side,” he added.
“The burden of scoring off him quickly will not be there and we will
get time to get used to him.”
India open a three-match tour of Sri Lanka with the first test in
Colombo on July 23 before embarking on a five-match one-day
Admitting that Mendis had often left his batsmen clueless, Dhoni said
the squad would spend time watching recordings of Mendis in action
before the tour to have a better understanding of his action.
Playing against Mendis for the first time in the final, Dhoni felt
that his batsmen failed to read the bowler because of his unique
variations and grip.
“Most of the time when he flights the ball it is a ‘googly’ or an
off-spinner. But when he bowls a flatter one it is generally a
leg-spinner and when you play inside the line for turn you will be in
trouble,” Dhoni said.
India announce their test squad on Wednesday and are expected to be
boosted by the return of the experienced batting trio of Sachin
Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. Sri Lanka skipper Mahela
Jayawardene said Mendis had given his team more options and was the
perfect foil for the experienced Muttiah Muralitharan.
“You can never discount Murali but Mendis is a confident bowler and
he knows what he wants,” Jayawardene said.
“He is something new and he gives us more options to attack as he can
be used in different ways.”