Dhoni to stick with two spinners

Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s impassioned appeal for spin-friendly pitches, and stories about BCCI sending directives to respective State associations hosting Tests to prepare turners have fuelled talk about India going with three spinners in the Mumbai Test against England.

But the Dhoni reiterated his belief in two pacers, two spinners theory, citing team balance.

“It is a different combination. It (two seamers and two spinners) gives more balance to the side. Generally, the first day wicket is quite good to bat on. There is not much turn. So, it will be difficult to restrict the batsmen,” Dhoni told reporters here on Thursday ahead of the second Test.

Dhoni’s statement came despite the “sore back” Umesh Yadav suffered on Wednesday evening, and the Vidarbha pacer is all but certain to miss the second Test.

“Umesh is unfit for this Test. He has a sore back. We play with two seamers and two spinners, so I don’t think we can take a risk by playing him in this match,” Dhoni said, also indicating that Ishant Sharma will replace Yadav.

It also meant that Harbhajan Singh would have to remain on 98 Tests for some more time. The Jharkhand man also offered another reason to employ two pacers, despite having the opportunity to play three spinners.

“The pacers will definitely get a bit of swing here. And as the game progresses, the wicket will dry out. 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,” he said.

There were criticism from several quarters about Dhoni’s open demand for turners. However, Dhoni vindicated his stand. “I was just trying to take the equation of the toss out. I was doing the good part. But different people have different opinions.”

Dhoni couldn’t hide a smile when asked about the nature of the wicket. “The wicket looks good. As it is the case in reviewing the decision, I have delayed it by five days. If this pitch also does not help our spinners, then I will again come and criticise it.”

But Dhoni wasn’t ready to take anything for granted. “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 from the draw the English side will take out. They will be coming with a positive mindset. So, we have to start fresh. We are not thinking too much about the future or the past as well,” he noted.

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