India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday admitted that they will miss the service of left-hand batsman Yuvraj Singh in the forthcoming Asia Cup in Sri Lanka and hoped the southpaw would return to the national side soon.
Yuvraj, who has been struggling with his form, was dropped from the Sri Lanka-bound national side and Dhoni has no qualm to admit that the youngsters of the team have to handle the extra responsibility to fill the void in the middle order.
"Of course we will miss him. If you see his performance in the last couple of years, he has been one of our main strength at the middle order. The way he can bat, hardly any batsman can do in that manner," Dhoni said at a press conference here.
"Definitely we will miss him, but at the same time it will be really great if some of the youngsters could fill in the space. But hopefully we will not miss him on the field," he added. Fitness has been a problem with Yuvraj, who seemed to have gained weight of late and was seen fielding in the deep and not in his customary point position.
However, Dhoni has no doubt that the Punjab cricketer will soon make his way back to the India team. "But the kind of talent Yuvraj is, I don't think it will be difficult for him to come back. I am hoping that he will be back as soon as possible. I am a big fan of Yuvraj and it is a pleasure to have him in the side. He is one of the best batsmen in the world," Dhoni said.
"Especially the way he bats in first and second powerplay situations has been remarkable. He is sort of a batsman who can be really cashed on as he can play in the both ways aggressive as well as defensive," Dhoni added. India open their campaign in the tournament by taking on Bangladesh on June 16 in Dambulla.
The skipper said that they are yet to plan anything for the four-nation competition and will set their strategy only after arriving in the island nation.
"It is very difficult to say anything till you see the condition available there. It is not easy to predict playing combination of the side. We have couple of practice sessions and we will also see how the wicket is. We will plan according to the conditions," he said while asked about the probable strategy in the tournament.
"Its an important tournament. We will be playing one-day cricket after a long time. We will be playing in Dambulla. We are playing with almost the full strength but the condition in Dambulla will be different because it is not a high scoring venue. It will be very important to keep that on the back of the mind. But we are not playing there for the first time," Dhoni said.
Asked about the condition of the team's fast bowling department, Dhoni said, "We really don't have a fast bowling all-rounder for the last couple of years. We don't have fast bowlers who could bowl 10 overs and then contribute with the bat.
"Fast bowling, especially in the sub-continent, is a difficult job. We have quite a few fast bowlers but they have not done really well. The more exposure they get will be better for them. You get quite placid wickets here when it comes to the ODIs. Most of the wickets now a days, you can say, favour the batsmen. There is no extra pace on the wickets and it becomes difficult to push batsmen on the back foot."
Speaking on their Twenty20 World Cup campaign in the West Indies, Dhoni said, "We didn't really do well in the World Cup. Media speculations going around are more than what the stats suggests. We are not too much bothered about what goes around.
"We had personal chats with the players. Gary (Kirsten) had individual discussions with the players. There were more individual sessions and it was not to bring anybody down. It is a normal procedure that we generally follow. It was nothing more than that."
"We know it is one of the most appreciated sports in India. We do get plenty of appreciation and at times plenty of criticism as well. We would like to be in the middle path and try to do well. It is in our hands and we are doing our best," he added.
Asked about the forthcoming 50-over World Cup next year, which will be held in the sub-continent, Dhoni admitted that they will carry some extra pressure in front of the home crowd in the showpiece event.
"Once we get closure to the World Cup I don't want to see many changes in the side. We would like give the side more exposure and help them get more used to the conditions. It is important to have players who have played more than 100 one-dayers. There will be pressure when it comes to World Cup because it is held in India," Dhoni said.
"This is the time that you can afford to bring about few changes as you get closure to the World Cup. But we don't want to do too many changes in the side. But in case we are forced to drop someone due to injury, we have to bring in change," he added. PTI