rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » No fitness concerns for Team India, says Dhoni

No fitness concerns for Team India, says Dhoni

Last updated on: December 24, 2011 15:06 IST

'Everyone's fit for the game'

     Next

Next

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Saturday said injury-prone pacers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma are expected to be fit for the first Test against Australia and precautions have been taken to ensure that they don't break down in the middle of the series.

"We've missed Zaheer quite a few times in the past. We did give them (Zaheer and Ishant) some time off, they bowled in the practice game as well as in the practice session. They are shaping up well. There are two more days and we know a lot can happen in two days. Hopefully, they would all be available for selection," Dhoni said in Melbourne.

"We've tried to take as much precaution as we could (regarding Zaheer and Ishant). We've tried our best whatever we could do. Players have also played their part, they worked outside the field also, in the gym and the rehab sessions they needed to do. They have put in a lot of effort in practice. Hopefully, they wouldn't have any injury.

"Everyone's fit for the game. All players are looking fit which you need for the format of the game. We don't need to be worried (on fitness count)," he added.


Image: Zaheer Khan (right) with Ishant Sharma
Photographs: Getty Images

     Next

'People look up to you, so you want it controversy-free'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Dhoni said the fireworks would only be limited to on-field action, promising that his side would ensure a controversy-free series without compromising on the intensity.

"Individuals do make mistakes. But as a professional cricketer, you don't want it. There is a lot at stake, people look up to you, so you want it controversy-free. Still, it's important you make it interesting," said Dhoni referring to the 2008 series when ugly exchanges between the two sides almost led to the tour being abandoned midway.

All hell had broken loose during the second Test at Sydney when India was at the receiving end of a few controversial decisions, capped by the "Monkeygate scandal" which dragged a few players of the two teams into the chambers of a court.

Dhoni also hoped the tour would be different in respect that India has never prepared as well as they have for the present tour.

"We've taken care of the preparation -- if 12-14 days are not enough then even one month wouldn't be enough. We've worked and looked at preparation from all angles so that once we are on the field, we can play by instinct and not worry about other factors.

"Our batters have toured here in the past. They know these conditions well. The first practice wicket (in Canberra) was very different, a bit on the slower side. But this one in the nets here has a bit more bounce which is useful," he said.


Image: Australia captain Ricky Ponting (left) speaks to Sachin Tendulkar and Harbhajan Singh during the Sydney Test in 2008
Photographs: Getty Images

Prev     Next

'Getting 100 hundreds is something really big'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Dhoni is conscious of the fact that everyone expects his team to win the present Test series but he doesn't want to lose sight of the immediate task.

"How we start in the first Test is important. We want to be in the moment. Break the match into sessions, try to win more sessions than the opposition team. If we win enough sessions, we will win the Test. Our emphasis would be on small things, not where we want to be at the end of the fourth Test.

"There's no point in taking that extra pressure. It will not help us. We need to keep it simple."

The India skipper then went on to speak about a few individuals of the side, including Sachin Tendulkar, who everyone expects to get his 100th international century at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

"He (Sachin) keeps it simple. He would get it, sometime in this or the next Test, this or the next series. It is on the way. It isn't something he wouldn't achieve. But if he gets it soon, everyone would feel relieved. 

"Getting 100 hundreds is something really big. If you ask me, he's played more international cricket than we have even practiced. He also shares a lot with youngsters who are new to the side. Everyone in the world would cherish the moment when he gets his 100," Dhoni said.

Dhoni also said that opener Virender Sehwag's form would also be a key factor for the team.

"Virender Sehwag is also a key player for us. We rely on him to give a good opening start. He scores at a quick pace, puts the opposition bowlers under pressure. When he is at the crease, you can't bowl warm up deliveries.

"If it's the first delivery or the last ball before stumps, he would score. It doesn't matter as long as it is in his areas. It's good to have him in the side. He enjoys the way he plays. He backs himself to play those shots," he said.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Getty Images

Prev     Next

'Ishant is a very honest player'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

On the speculation surrounding Ishant's fitness, Dhoni said, "Ishant is a very honest player. He works really hard at the nets. In a few years he has been with the team, he's someone who turns up on the field and gives his 100 per cent. He has a good attitude.

"He plays 60-70 per cent of his cricket in India where it's difficult to motivate yourself for even if you bowl 140kmph, the ball hardly reaches the wicketkeeper."

Dhoni also had words of praise for young off-spinner R Ashwin, whom he expects to do well in the series.

"It's good to have him, he has few variations. Even when wicket is not helping him, whether he is getting help or not, he adapts well. That's a big positive. The wickets here would be different from the sub-continent as he would get good bounce. He can capitalise on it but he needs to be patient.

"Spinners have key roles in longer format especially. As the game goes and the wicket becomes slower, you need spinners to make use of the foot marks. You need them to keep things tight, give time off to fast bowlers and give crucial breakthroughs. They have a very crucial role."


Image: Ishant Sharma
Photographs: Getty Images
Tags: Dhoni , India

Prev     Next

'It's not been a brilliant year for me at number seven'

Prev     More
Prev

More

About his own batting, Dhoni admitted this it hasn't been a very great year for him in terms of batting at number seven but also pointed out that he missed out on big scores a few times because he ran out of partners.

"It's not been a brilliant year for me at number seven. But I've score a lot of 80s. Sometimes I have run short of partners, as it was in South Africa. All of a sudden, I didn't have batsmen batting with me. I tried to score runs and got out. However, I would like to improve as an individual. Great players are helping me."

Dhoni didn't want to run down Australia's young cricketers only because they are inexperienced.

"People talk a lot about inexperience. Even McGrath and Shane Warne made debut. They hadn't played many games but in due course, they became legends. Youngsters can also do so. Inexperience will nto count as long as you can adapt to the condtions."

One concern, Dhoni was candid enough to admit, was the massive size of the MCG which can test the fielding ability of cricketers.

"It's massive, a really big ground. We have seen batsmen have run four, even five is possible if fielder is slow. Because the outfield is lush and green, the shots get slow and you run a lot of singles which puts pressure on the fielders in the outfield.

"It's a bit of concern for fielding is very important. We've got quite a few good fielders in the outfield. What we want to achieve though is good catching in the slips. I think that would be important."


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Getty Images

Prev     More
© Copyright 2014 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.