Raina, Ashwin set to play against West Indies

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 19, 2011 12:20 hrs

CHENNAI: Middle order batsman Suresh Raina and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin will play Sunday's World Cup Group B match against West Indies, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni hinted on Saturday.

"You have to wait until tomorrow morning to get the playing XI but by the start of the knockout stage, everyone would have played at least one game," Dhoni said.

Dhoni's backing of Piyush Chawla over Ashwin, even when the leg-spinner generously conceded runs, baffled many and pressure was mounting on the Indian captain to give the off-spinner a chance in his home town.

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Raina could not find a place for himself in a middle order teeming with stroke-players.

Dhoni conceded India's famed batting line-up, which lost nine wickets for 29 runs in their last match against South Africa, has been inconsistent but reckoned they are better prepared now going into the knockout stage.

"One good thing that has happened so far is that everybody has got a chance to bat, under pressure or no pressure, chasing and batting first. That's a big positive," he said.

"Yes, seven batsmen taken together, we have not fired to our best which means if we have a real good day on the field, we are quite capable of scoring par-plus score."

Dhoni also took the occasion to pay tribute to Sachin Tendulkar who is one century away from scoring his 100th ton in international cricket.

"He keeps it really simple. He does not look at the milestones. Playing for 20-21 years and the kind of form he has been throughout his career, he knows every game that he plays, some kind of milestone is there around the corner," he said.

World Cup 2011

"He practises well, still works on his techniques and where he feels an extra bit of effort is needed, he does that. What really helps him is how he analyses the wicket and accordingly plans his innings.''

"It has been really good to have him in the side... He always assists you as a senior player with plenty of ideas you can always pick and choose. If you are short of ideas, you can definitely walk up to him and there will always be 2-3 ideas."

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