Bowlers can do the job, says Dhoni

Bowlers can do the job, says Dhoni

Ours is a talented unit, says Indian captain

Bowlers can do the job, says Dhoni

M S Dhoni at a press conference in Chennai on Tuesday. AP

Four years down the line, Mahendra Singh Dhoni will lead a largely inexperienced side with only Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma having prior experience of playing Tests in Australia.  That Zaheer will join the side after a lengthy injury-enforced lay-off, and Ishant hasn’t played a competitive match since the Test series against the West Indies, have been numbered as worrying factors ahead of the big trip.

But Dhoni firmly believed that the attack under his disposal had the wherewithal to come good in Australia. “Our bowlers are talented. Once the youngsters play more and more games, they will get experience at the top level.  I think talent-wise, we are there. We have a good exposure for the youngsters who are part of the side now touring Australia,” Dhoni said.

In his effort to further nullify the inexperience factor, Dhoni elaborated, “Ashwin has made his debut in the series against West Indies that ended recently. Nobody knew what Ashwin could do. But he ended up winning the man of the series in Test matches. It doesn’t mean the bowling attack is weak because the big names are not there. Even when Shane Warne or Glenn McGrath made their debut, they started from zero wickets,” he said.

However, the team’s think-tank might be forced to redesign their bowling strategy once Praveen Kumar and Varun Aaron were ruled out due to injuries. Praveen suffered a rib injury, while Aaron had to pull out because of a stress reaction on his back.

Coach Duncan Fletcher asserted that his bowlers have the energy to do well in Australia. Fletcher threw more light on the strategy in place to reduce stress on bowlers. “When those two bowlers got injured, we had to make sure that one of the bowlers’ preparations was a gradual build-up that is enough for him to be fit enough going into the Test. For example, Ishant Sharma had a nice rest. He was totally free from injury when he finished the Test match in Mumbai. It’s important that they have little breaks between series. It’s important not to make things too complicated for these youngsters, and make sure they are confident about their ability.” 

Fletcher also stressed that the team management needed to be careful with the handling of Zaheer, named as the provisional member of the side. The veteran left-arm pacer had bowled without much trouble against Orissa and Saurashtra in the Ranji Trophy matches recently. “From the reports that I get, Zaheer had come to Mumbai, and bowled at the nets there. He had looked impressive, and looked in better shape than when he came to England. We do not want to rush him. The one three-day game in Australia will be important for him before the first Test,” he said.