Dhoni has his hopes riding on pacemen

Captain says injured Harbhajan will be missed if declared unfit

Dhoni has his hopes riding on pacemen

Though Harbhajan, suffering from a calf injury, has shown no obvious discomfort in the last three days during practice, there are serious doubts about his availability for the opening Test against Australia beginning on Friday. “We will decide on Harbhajan tomorrow morning,” said Dhoni on Thursday.

Dhoni admitted it would be a tough task for his side to manage without Harbhajan. “He has been our main spinner after Anil bhai left. He has been well-supported by Amit Mishra and Pragyan Ojha. They have done decently. But the attack has always revolved around Harbhajan and it is a bit of a concern (if he is not playing).

“But you can't control injuries. We’re just hoping he'll be available for selection but if he's not, we’ll have to make use of the available resources in the best possible manner,” he observed.

Dhoni, however, was more optimistic about his pacemen coming to the party. “It’s important to get early breakthroughs to put pressure on the opposition. We have three talented pacemen in Zak (Zaheer Khan), Sreesanth and Ishant, and hopefully we will be able to get some early wickets,”  he pointed out. While maintaining that rankings didn’t mean much to him, Dhoni said that the team was expected to do well while playing at home. “You are expected to win if you are playing at home. In a five-day match, it’s all about winning more sessions. Especially in India, the last two days will be crucial because there will a lot more turn for the spinners and fast bowlers can get the ball to reverse swing,” he remarked.

Ricky Ponting has struggled in India both as batsman and captain in Tests whereas Dhoni has always maintained an edge over his opposite number. “I have always believed it's not captain versus captain. It's not me who has been successful against Ricky, but the Indian team that has been successful.

“As a captain, you take decisions that can have a big impact on the game. But at the end of the day, it is the bowlers and the batsmen who execute the plans and make them successful. As a captain, you can just make decisions and channelise the thoughts.”

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