The Telegraph
Friday , August 31 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘First spell crucial’
- NZ have tremendous ability to fight back: Dhoni

Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni during a practice session, in Bangalore, on Thursday. (AFP)

Bangalore: New Zealand’s form in the Tests has recently run into rough weather. After losing the Test series against West Indies 0-2, they meekly surrendered to India in the first Test. With such a dismal form, one might think that it will be a cakewalk for India in the second and final Test.

But India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni begs to differ. On Thursday, he threw a caution to the wind, warning against complacency.

“We have to remain wary about complacency…We have to continue performing in the same way that we did in the first Test… We will try to stick to our basics and try to keep things simple. We don’t want to complicate things… If we try too many things at a time, we will put pressure on ourselves,” Dhoni asserted.

New Zealand batsmen have struggled against the Indian spinners in the first Test. On being asked whether he will try to exploit the opponents’ vulnerability, Dhoni said: “New Zealand have a tremendous ability to fight back… We have to remain on our guards and have to seize the opportunities,” he said.

Asked to assess New Zealand’s bowling, he said: “New Zealand are a good bowling side… They will come up with good bowling plan and if they execute those plans well, they can cause trouble for us.

“Hyderabad was a bit different from the conditions that we have here… There wasn’t much for the fast bowlers. Here, they will look to exploit the overcast conditions. The first spell will be really crucial for both sides… We will both try to take wickets to gain the early initiative in the match,” Dhoni said. “If we bat first, we have to negotiate their pace and try not to lose wickets… If they are batting first, we have to get as many wickets as possible,” he added.

The wicket at the Chinnaswamy had a greenish tinge to it. Dhoni informed that he was expecting a turner. But he also said that they are ready to play on any surface given to them.

“The Hyderabad wicket had a lot of turn and bounce… Frankly, we are expecting a turner here also. The sub-continental speciality should be spin and I think we should stick to it. Here the wicket has a slight greenish tinge to it… I hope that the groundsmen will make the necessary changes,” he said.

Talking about his role as a batsman, Dhoni said: “I’m happy with my batting position… My job is to guide the tail-enders… And it really helps the team if I can put some runs on the board with them. If the last three or four batsmen contribute, it becomes very frustrating for the opponents,” he said.