Monday, June 24, 2024
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Dhoni rules out playing three spinners

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Ahmedabad: Indian captain MS Dhoni, on Wednesday, virtually ruled out the possibility of his side playing with three front-line spinners in the first Test against England on a dry wicket here.

This would mean that senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, recalled to the side after more than one year in the wilderness, will be left out of the playing eleven with Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha getting the nod.

“Maybe, if we get a wicket like the one at Kanpur against South Africa (in 2008), we will go in 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 to have people (available) for different scenarios,” said Dhoni at the customary pre-match media conference.

Dhoni also informed that speedster Ishant Sharma will not play in the first Test as he is yet to recover while all others, including Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav, who did not practice on Wednesday, with the rest of the team, were available for selection.

It was reported on Tuesday that Ishant is suffering from viral fever.

On Ashok Dinda, called up as back-up for Sharma, Dhoni said it was just an extra precaution that the team has taken.

“He is just a back up. If someone breaks down in the night or tomorrow morning then he comes into the picture,” said the India wicketkeeper.

Explaining the absence of Zaheer and Yadav from practice, Dhoni said it was as per the team’s plans as they wanted to give the two pace bowlers some rest after the long practice sessions over the last few days.

Dhoni also ruled out breaking up of the opening partnership of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag despite the Delhi pair’s indifferent form in the previous home rubber against New Zealand and the earlier series in Australia.

“Gautam (Gambhir) and Viru pa (Sehwag) will open the innings,” he said, to end any speculation on the issue.

He also praised the complementary roles played by his two frontline spin bowlers Ashwin and Ojha.

Dhoni refused to be drawn into a debate on whether or not it was a revenge series for the team for the 4-0 thrashing it had received from England last year in the latter’s backyard.

“I know for a fact that when we go to the field there will be a red ball, two teams that will play. You can name it whatever you want. That does not change the fact that from tomorrow we will go in and play Test cricket,” he said. (PTI)

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