Ahmedabad: If Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s words are to be believed, India will not play three spinners in the first Test, against England, beginning here from Thursday.
At the pre-match media conference, Dhoni said that it’s always better to have a bowling attack which has different people for different scenarios, clearly indicating that he wouldn’t like his attack to be one-dimensional.
The following are excerpts
If this is a revenge series
When we go on to the field, there will be a red ball and there will be two teams. You can name it whatever you want, that does not change the fact that from Thursday, we will play Test cricket... That’s it.
The Ojha-Ashwin combination
They understand each other really well, something that’s very important. Ojha is someone who can keep it tight at one end, while Ashwin will always be a more aggressive bowler.
On Harbhajan Singh
If you see the top 4-5 spinners, Bhajji definitely features there. The good thing is he is now once again a part of the side… That means he can share his experience with some of the youngsters… Ojha has played with him in some matches, he can share things with Ashwin as well. I feel he has got a big contribution to make in the series.
On the wicket
It looks like a good wicket, though I am not a great reader of wickets. It may slow down and spinners would get a bit of assistance… Maybe a bit of reverse swing for the fast bowlers as well. We will see how it behaves, but it definitely looks to be on the drier side. I feel they have changed the soil from the last time we played here. They have used a bit more of clay and so I feel it will turn. But we will also have to see the pace of the wicket.
Possibility of playing three spinners
Maybe if we get a wicket like the one we got at Kanpur, against South Africa, we will go with four spinners! What we need to see is that if we get a wicket like that, the fast bowlers also get a bit of reverse swing. It’s always advisable to have a bowling attack with people available for different scenarios.
On the England team’s complaint at not being provided quality spinners in practice matches
That’s an administrative decision, I cannot say anything on that. There were no instructions from my side.
Ishant’s fitness update
Ishant is down with a viral and has not recovered fully… The others are available.
Ashok Dinda being called up
He is just a back-up… If someone breaks down on Wednesday night or match-day morning, then he comes into the picture. But Ishant is the first option.
Yuvraj Singh’s comeback to the Test side
He looks in good shape… It takes a lot of fitness to score a double hundred (in a first-class game)… We are just hoping that he does not have to field for two days. There is no need for a car, which is capable of a long haul, to be driven the full distance. He’s an aggressive character. He’s someone who really wants to perform at the top level.
England as an opposition
You need to respect the opposition... You play 60 to 70 per cent of your cricket in your own country and you are supposed to be good there. Once you go to a different part of the world, it’s a fresh challenge. It’s no different for England…
On Kevin Pietersen
I never doubted that he wouldn’t be a part of the squad… I was 200 per cent sure that he would come on the India tour. Of course, he is a great batsman who loves to play his shots. You will enjoy the contest between him and the pie chucker.