Colombo: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni wants his batsmen to throw caution to the wind and play their natural attacking game in Sunday's crucial match against Pakistan to revive their stuttering World Twenty20 campaign.
India, who suffered a humiliating nine-wicket loss against Australia in their first Super Eights match, meet arch-rivals Pakistan in a must-win game in Colombo.
Batting first, the 2007 champions laboured to 140 for 7 wickets before a record opening stand of 133 by David Warner and Shane Watson helped Australia canter to victory on Friday. Dhoni urged his teammates to walk out and express themselves against Pakistan without fearing about the result.
"I think if you just see the potential, the team has got the potential and it's just that you have to implement it on the field," said Dhoni. "Also what's important for us is to go in and just express ourselves... let's play the big shots and play with lot of confidence.
"And whatever the result may be, let's not care about the result because it's a very different format. You can't do lot of planning... just go out, you have the talent, you have resources, just express yourself."
India left out opener Virender Sehwag to accommodate an extra spinner against Australia but none of the three slow bowlers managed to make an impact. But Dhoni felt that the spinners would still have an effective role to play in the tournament.
"The wicket has slowed down a lot you know compared to the last series we played and the first few games,” Dhoni said. "Even when the Australian spinners were bowling it was gripping and it was not really coming on to the bat. Especially the big shots were not really easy to play... I still think it'll be on the slower side because they'll use the same stretch to play the matches. So we are hoping that the slower bowlers will come in to action."
India also lost the warm-up match against Pakistan in the tournament and Dhoni was aware of the weight of expectation from the country when they play their neighbours. "We are always at the top when it comes to the pressure chain... because of the expectation level back in home we are expected to win everything," he said. So I don't think it can go really beyond that limit so already we are there. So it doesn't really matter for us, what's important is to enjoy the game and not think about the result too much."
Pakistan also loaded their team with spinners against South Africa on Friday but captain Mohammad Hafeez said that the team were yet to decide on their combination against India.
“Well I think the conditions are really suitable for the spinners," Hafeez said. "But really at the moment I can't tell you what it would be but we will come out tomorrow to see what the pitch will be.
"We know that India got a good batting lineup but we have to see how we approach the game. I think the plan might be different, for this game [against South Africa] we made this plan to go with three spinners so we have to think what it will be, how the pitch will be and then we will decide."