Dhoni will 'criticise' pitch if no help for spinners
With a champion bowler like Harbhajan Singh sitting in the sidelines, there is always the temptation to play three spinners, Hiwever, for now, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni will stick to the tried and tested formula of playing with two pacers and two seamers.
India will look to extend their winning run when they take on England in the second Test, starting Friday, in Mumbai. They registered a convincing nine-wicket win in the first Test at Ahmedabad as England's batsmen struggled to come to grips with the Indian spinners on a slow wicket.
Image: Yuvraj Singh (left) with coach Duncan Fletcher during Thursday's practice session at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai
'More balance to the side'
With pacer Umesh Yadav set to miss the match because of a sore back, there was the temptation for Dhoni to include Harbhajan and make it that much more difficult for England. But he ruled out that idea, because he believes it will be difficult to manage with just one pacer if India has to bowl first.
On the eve of the Mumbai Test Dhoni confirmed the hosts will play two spinners and two seamers, with Ishant Sharma set to replace the injured Yadav.
"It is a different combination. It gives more balance to the side. Generally, the first day wicket is quite good to bat on. There is not much turn for them. So it will be difficult to restrict the batsmen," he said.
Image: Umesh Yadav with physio Evan Speechley and trainer Ramji Srinivasan
'Pacers will definitely get a bit of swing'
Dhoni also believes his pacers will get some reverse swing, which they exploited quite well in Ahmedabad.
"The pacers will definitely get a bit of swing here. And, as the game progresses, the wicket will dry down. The fast bowlers may come back into the action with reverse swing later.
"Generally, it has a bit more bounce here. Even in Ahmedabad, the fast bowlers' spell was very crucial. It may seem that spinners took a lot of wickets, but it was the fast bowlers who gave us important breakthroughs," he said.
Image: Ishant Sharma looks on as Umesh Yadav struggles in the nets
'It looks like a good wicket to start off'
India's captain created quite a buzz when, after the first Test, he said he would like to have wickets that start turning from the first ball. On Thursday, he reiterated that he is not in favour of wickets that will not help the Indian spinners.
"The wicket looks good. If this pitch also does not help our spinners, then I will again come and criticise it. But it looks like a good wicket to start off.
"I was just trying to take the equation of the toss out. I was doing the good part. But different people have different opinion," he added.
Image: Harbhajan Singh with Ishant Sharma
England need to embrace the challenge of playing on turning wickets in India
Dhoni also called upon the England team to embrace the challenge of playing on turning wickets in India as conditions are never the same in different countries.
"People talk of different challenges when it comes to playing in England, New Zealand, West Indies, Australia and South Africa. So when they come to India, they get flat wickets. So, maybe, that is why they don't like when the ball turns," he said.
Image: Team India during the nets
'When it comes to Sachin, it is best to not speculate anything'
He also refused to speculate whether this would be Sachin Tendulkar's last match at his home ground.
"When it comes to Sachin, it is best to not speculate anything. He can come back and play a few more Test matches here. Let's wait and watch and enjoy the kind of cricket that he plays."
Image: Sachin Tendulkar (right)
'You have to start from scratch'
Dhoni insisted he will not be taking the visitors lightly despite the big win in Ahmedabad, saying he expects the visitors to come back strongly in Mumbai.
"The fact remains that the start of the second Test is always a fresh day. You have to start from scratch. There will quite a few positives to draw that the English side will take out of the last game. They will be coming with a positive mindset.
"I don't think it is very difficult to get out of the loss now because the T20 format has taught us to be in the same state of mind irrespective of whether you have lost or won the game," he said.
Image: Virender Sehwag bats with Sachin Tendulkar