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Feb 19, 2012 at 07:54pm IST

'Rotating top 3 because they are slow'

Brisbane: India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni backed the team's rotation policy for the top order, saying the top three batsmen were not playing each game because they are slow on the field.

Dhoni explained the reasons why Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir are not playing all the games together, even as India lost the tri-series game against Australia by 110 runs at the Gabba on Sunday.

"It might happen (they playing together, but) it would affect our fielding in a big way, it's not only these three, there are quite a few other players who are also slow on the field. If you really add it up, you would have only two or three good fielders."

Rotating top 3 because they are slow: Dhoni

Dhoni said Gambhir, Sehwag and Sachin are not playing each game because they are slow on the field.

"These fielders are not bad but on these big fields, they are slightly on the slower side. They would be exploited once the ball goes to them, the Australians and Sri Lankans would look for those two or three runs to put pressure on their body. Their throwing and diving needs to be good," Dhoni said.

The skipper said fielding on the big grounds of Australia could lead to breakdown.

"They are safe fielders on the slower side. The pressure would be on them. They would have to throw from positions where there would be pressure on them. There would be breakdowns. It's not like India where the ball goes to a boundary and you just throw it back. Here, you can pull muscle or a hamstring."

"Batting and bowling is something which has variables, but fielding is one department where you can always score. It keeps the morale of the team up, there is intensity."

India didn't field all that well against Australia on Sunday and their bowling also crumbled in the final 10 overs, which Dhoni put down to cramps due to extreme heat.

"This is the best fielding side we have got, there were a few catches which were dropped, but it happens in cricket. It was a phase, we dropped a few catches, hopefully we wouldn't do in whatever games we are left to play in."

"In the last 10 overs, the bowlers felt the heat right from the second powerplay. When you see your best fast bowler battling through cramps, that was the reason I bowled Zaheer (Khan) through. I didn't want to lose any overs from him and kept Vinay Kumar for the last few overs. He also felt the cramps."

Asked to bowl first, India conceded 101 runs in the last 10 overs to let Australia set an imposing target of 289.

"The last 10 overs, they batted really well, our bowlers were not able to execute the way they could have if they were not battling cramps or the heat. It was hot out there. You are supposed to go through that phase, but I felt they found it difficult."

"It's not that everybody wasn't hydrated. But there was no breeze here and it becomes very hot. Once you put pressure on the fielders, they have to put it on their body, not let batsmen score doubles off them. It's very demanding and we see fielders get cramps."

It was also noticeable that Dhoni did not use Ravinder Jadeja at all during Australia's innings.

"I didn't want to bowl Jadeja when the left-handers were there. If you see, (Matthew) Wade was settled once (David) Warner got out. I thought I was better off using an off-spinner and Raina bowled really well. Then (Michael) Hussey came in and got settled. I was happy to bowl through Raina. There was no real reason to bowl Jadeja through just because he is there. If there was one more right-hander, I might have used him."

Meanwhile, after being thrashed by Australia in the seventh match of the ongoing tri-series, Dhoni said losing early wickets while chasing was also a reason for their defeat.

"With that kind of score you needed a brisk start. They got early breakthroughs and that put pressure on us," Dhoni said after the match.

India were shot out for 178 after a poor start, when they lost their first four wickets for just 36 runs.

Asked about the continuous failure of India's big guns, Dhoni said," It happens. The two new balls make it a bit difficult, so you have to respect that early on. It gets a bit easier to hit in the middle overs. You have to plan well."

Dhoni also backed Suresh Raina to stick to number six, which he described as a difficult position.

"If I need number six, Raina is someone who suits the slot more than Rohit (Sharma) because he has more experience at that number. Its difficult to perform and someone who has played there should be given that extra liberty because he knows how to play at number six."

The Indian skipper, meanwhile, said it was important that not only India win the tournament, but also that youngsters get enough exposure.

"It should be both. You want to do well. You can always say the opposition played well, but at the end of the day you feel bad if you are not winning. We would like to get a bit of both, we need to get into the finals first. Then it's a three-match series."

"The youngsters will be coming here again and again, maybe for the next World Cup also. They also need to know how to play in these conditions against an attack which is world-class."

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