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Have to be ready at No.6, says captain Dhoni

Nottingham: Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said that he is ready to bat at No.6 and thus dropped big hints that his side will look to go into the first Test against England, beginning Wednesday, with five bowling options.

“I have to be ready at No.6 because that’s a crucial phase of the game where you can turn the matches,” Dhoni said on the eve of the opening game of the five-match series.

“If you start getting a few boundaries and bat positively in the company of other batsmen, that’s the time of the game you are able to get some quick runs… Because the ball will be slightly old and the bowlers are a bit tired. But you have to make sure that you get good start, and more importantly you capitalise on it.”

“There are not too many teams around that have five bowlers… So, that in itself it is a big challenge. It is great to have five bowlers outside the subcontinent and we will look at the wicket before the match and then decide,” he added.

India are likely to play Stuart Binny as an all-rounder at No.7. Dhoni though turned diplomatic when Binny’s name was thrown at him directly during the media conference.

“Stuart is someone who can bowl a bit and at the same time bat as well. If we can give him enough chance and groom him, he can be someone who can do that job for us in the next 6-8 months. He won’t be as good as someone like Jacques Kallis, but he can be someone who can bowl those 10 overs and bat a bit,” he replied.

Playing five bowlers will give India a chance to back up their three-seamers-one-spinner bowling attack that was found wanting in South Africa and New Zealand.

“We had to play with three fast bowlers and one spinner and if the pitch is not turning, then a lot of effort and workload needs to be shared by the fast bowlers.

“If you look at those Test matches, the fast bowlers bowled their hearts out. Sometimes a little luck is also needed in cricket. We need to give credit to the opposition, but overall I felt the bowling department did well,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni also had words of praise for Ishant Sharma. “As far as Ishant is concerned, he is bowling well. It’s very important to get into a good rhythm. “So far he has been bowling well and he is also someone who can get a bit more bounce than some of our other bowlers,” he said.

Dhoni’s counterpart, Alastair Cook, has admitted that it has been long since his side won a Test match and said that they would desperately look to change that during the series.

“We haven't won a Test in a while and we would love to get back to winning ways,” Cook said.

“It is a tight schedule… I have never played five Tests in 40 days… So I am excited about playing a really big series against India, who are a big side and should pull in a lot of interest. It is important to get ahead in a series like this,” he said. When asked about what he thinks of the inexperienced Indian team that has come on tour this time around, the English captain was guarded in his response.

“That’s the beauty of sport, you just don’t know… Not many of their guys have played here before. One way is that they will miss the experience of certain players in certain situations. But then they won’t have too many scars of losing in 2011.

“So there are two different ways of looking at that. They are going to be very competitive and we know that,” Cook said.

(PTI)