Sport

India ready to face Proteas despite admin issues

Michael Sherman

The Indian cricket team says it has no part in the administrative problems between Cricket SA and the Board of Cricket Control in India.

India's cricket captain MS Dhoni. (Gallo)

The Indian cricket team has distanced itself from the administrative issues between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) in India, captain MS Dhoni said on Monday.

CSA and the BCCI clashed on the scheduling of the tour, which was reduced to three One Day Internationals and two Test matches, with the traditional new year's Test in Cape Town scrapped altogether.

"I think we can arrange a match for the administrators and let them go at each other," said Dhoni at the team's arrival press conference in Johannesburg on Monday. "We were busy playing cricket and had nothing to do with it."

Whether the Indian team were disappointed about playing a shortened series in South Africa, Dhoni did not say. "I don't pay that much attention to how many games we are playing because we have quite a busy schedule. As of now what is really in our hands is two Test matches and three ODIs, and to make the most of it and then move on to the next series."

Dhoni said the atmosphere between the players of the teams was not of concern. "The relationship between the Indian and South African players has been really good. Though we see a bit of chirping going around which makes cricket very interesting, so far we have not seen a case between these sides where they have gone too far or crossed the line.

"So that's a good sign, and I think we'll have a good series."

Absence
On the prospect of their first Tour after Sachin Tendulkar's retirement, coach Duncan Fletcher said his absence would only be felt once the Test matches begin. "It's difficult from a point of view that the last Test we played in he was with us, so we haven't played without him," said Fletcher.

"So we're only going to have those sort of feelings and emotions once we get to the Tests as he hasn't been in the One Day side for three years or so. It's a difficult one to answer until we've played that first Test and he's not in the side and not batting at number four."

The pace-bowler friendly pitches in South Africa would not be a great concern for India said Fletcher. The coach pointed out his side's win in the Champions trophy, and in the West Indies as indicators of their form and confidence.

"In the West Indies there are similar conditions to here to some degree and the same sort of bowlers. We have won a good series away from home, but some of the wickets will change. Some of the wickets will have a bit more bounce but the players can handle that bounce."

Dhoni said he fancied facing up to the strong pace lineup of the Proteas. "Over here you will see some good exciting cricket," said Dhoni. "They provide wickets where there is something on offer for the fast bowlers, but at the same time if you are a batsman and you like the ball coming on to the bat, this is the place to play.

"Jo'burg especially has shown that it can be a high-scoring venue. It will give a fair amount of challenge to both teams." – Sapa

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