Chennai: Cyclone Baaz may delay Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s Test debut even more, but our newest wicketkeeper isn’t complaining. After all the travelling (and 12 ODIs) in a little over a month, any break is welcome.
“Of course, one would like to quickly become a Test player, but one can’t do anything about the weather... No play on the first day has given some time to catch up on sleep... In fact, after yesterday’s (Thursday’s) workout, I’d only got up for our team meeting and dinner,” Dhoni told The Telegraph.
A tight ODI schedule does place a heavy demand on those who have two roles to play.
The delay, however, is also helping Dhoni mentally prepare for the challenges. “Frankly, as the ODIs ended as recently as Monday, I didn’t get the time to think too much about Test cricket... I’m getting it now,” he said during a chat at the Taj Coromandel.
Dhoni didn’t reveal whether he’d got up earlier than usual, on Friday, but did say the first thing he did was to “draw the curtains” and see if the sun was out. It wasn’t.
Not that it’s a worry, but Dhoni is aware that except the workouts here, he hasn’t kept to the red ball for months: “Unlike the white one (used in ODIs), the red ball spins more and I’ve got to ’keep to two outstanding spinners (Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh)... I’m sure I’ll get used to it quickly...”
Chief selector Kiran More, who wore the big gloves for India from the mid-1980s till 1993, has been “helping” him.
Asked whether his approach to batting would be different in cricket’s traditional form, Dhoni replied: “To the extent that I’m going to get choosy about the balls to hit... I’ll have to cut out the high-risk shots... Of course, I’m going to remain positive.”
Normally, the family of a Test debutant would like to be at hand to savour a terrific moment, but Dhoni discourages “anybody” from turning up at his matches and, so, nobody “dared” suggest he/she would be at the Chepauk.
“I feel I’ll be under more pressure if a near or dear one comes to specifically watch me... The family, therefore, watches the telecasts in Ranchi... They can ‘have’ me when I’m home,” he explained.
Dhoni, well, is different.