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IPL is ideal stage for bowlers before WC: MS Dhoni

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"The four overs actually keeps you at your best, you are bowling the yorkers, bowling the variation and playing under pressure. " © BCCI


MS Dhoni has been there, done that. The 37-year-old had captained the Indian side to the 2007 World T20 and 2011 World Cup triumphs among various other significant wins.



With such vast experience of leading the side in big-ticket events, the former India captain will certainly be Virat Kohli's strongest ally when the 2019 World Cup kicks off in England in May next year.



While the World Cup is still five months away and India will have 13 ODIs to prepare themselves for the event, Dhoni on Friday prescribed how Kohli's boys should approach the games mentally.



"What will be crucial for us is to play the World Cup like a bilateral event. We shouldn't think of it as the World Cup," Dhoni said during a Star Sports chat show on the sidelines of a book launch here on Friday evening.



The other panelists on the chat show included former India captains Kapil Dev, Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble along with N Srinivasan.



The wicketkeeper-batsman also charted the roadmap for the training programme of the bowlers and batsmen. He feels that it will be important to keep the bowlers injury-free.



"Keeping our bowlers injury free is important. If you rest them, the first thing commentators say is they are rusty, and if you make them play, then is he not too fresh. So we have to find that fine balance even though it might be a bit difficult to manage," said Dhoni.



Former India coach Anil Kumble feels that fast bowlers should consider skipping the IPL, which is scheduled to get under way in March next year.



"One of the most important parts of preparation will be keeping yourself (players) fresh as there is a lot of cricket coming up from now till the start of the World Cup.



"Maybe resting some of the top bowlers in a few of the IPL games is an option. Even though franchises might not like that or want to rest them, it has to be considered for India's sake," Kumble said.



Dhoni, though, differed with Kumble. In fact, he feels IPL could be an ideal platform for bowlers to get in shape.



"Bowling four overs won't make you tired. The four overs actually keeps you at your best, you are bowling the yorkers, bowling the variation and playing under pressure. I feel the bowlers can still play the whole of the IPL but what they need to manage is what they eat, when they sleep and wake up.



"I would like them to be at their best when it comes to the skill factor. I always felt IPL was the best time to get in shape because I had a lot of time. I was playing only three and a half hours every third day and it gave me time to spend in the gym," Dhoni said.



A major concern for India is the form of middle-order batsmen. In fact, the Indian middle order also has an unsettled look. Dhoni said that India need to find a way to test their middle order batsmen.



"Our top order has done very well in limited overs since 2015 and not many chances were given to middle order. So one of the crucial things will be what we can do so that our middle order also gets a chance to bat. You want the entire team to perform well," said Dhoni.

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