Dhoni backs relationship between BCCI, CSA

India

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Monday that fans can brace themselves for "good, exciting" cricket, as India prepare to take on South Africa in three ODIs and two Test matches.

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Monday that fans can brace themselves for "good, exciting" cricket, as India prepare to take on South Africa in three ODIs and two Test matches.

Dhoni and his men touched down in Johannesburg and it was up to coach Duncan Fletcher to field the first question of the series – which pertained to the absence of the recently-retired Sachin Tendulkar.

While Fletcher highlighted that th upcoming Test at their Wanderers would be the first time they would play without the veteran Tendulkar on a full-time basis, Dhoni had the responsibility of pouring some water over the boardroom fires that preceded the tour.

"The last Test we played he was with us, so our next Test match we will get a feeling and of what it is like without him batting at number four , and then only will we be able to gauge how much we miss him," said Fletcher.

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As for the row between Cricket South Africa and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, who have a largely-unsubstantiated contentious relationship with CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat, resulted in a shortened series between the top-ranked Test nations, a nonchalant Dhoni insisted that the administrators should stick to what they do best and leave the cricket to the players.

"We can arrange a match for the administrators and let them have a go at that," he quipped. "The relationship between South Africa and India has been very good over a long period of time and while there is a bit of chirping going on, it has never been a case of guys crossing the line."

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Then the first indication that India were well prepared for the increased pace of the South African playing surfaces came when Dhoni was asked whether he would have preferred a three-match Test series.

The seasoned Test batsmen he is, he simply rocked onto the back foot, dropped his hands and let the short pitched delivery wiz past his helmet: "We have a very busy schedule and we can't do anything about the way things are."

Equally, Dhoni would not be told that South Africa's recent two-one ODI series loss to Pakistan is an indication of weakness.

"We hardly got time to see their series against Pakistan and you can't judge the outcome based on a two-one score alone. You would have to access each match to get a better idea," he concluded.

<i>Michael Mentz in Johannesburg</i>

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