Pitch might help spinners: Dhoni

Pitch might help spinners: Dhoni

“It looks very different,” Dhoni said on Monday. “There is a lot of grass but the base is still pretty dry. It’s difficult to predict exactly how it will play. You expect it to play well. Also, because it is a lot cooler than Motera, there will be help for the fast bowlers every morning. We are expecting the wicket to break up and help the spinners but what pace and bounce they will get, we have to see. I feel personally it will be a better wicket to bowl on.”

Dhoni made it clear that he favoured tracks that complemented India’s strengths. “I am not the kind of player who goes to the groundsman and asks for a specific kind of wicket. But every country and every association specialises in its own way. It’s important to provide a good wicket but you should not try to make a pitch that you really can’t make. The sub-continent is known for its spinners and for reverse-swinging fast bowlers. We are not known for green tracks with plenty of bounce for the seamers. It’s a challenge for batsmen to play spin, not only in India but in the sub-continent, and we should just stick to that.”

Admitting that it was a little difficult to gee up his bowlers on a track like the one in Ahmedabad, Dhoni noted, “They are aggressive bowlers who love taking wickets, who attack a bit more. When they don’t see any assistance from the wicket, they get a bit disheartened, but that is part and parcel of the game.”

There had been a small question mark over Dhoni’s availability after he picked up a finger injury in Ahmedabad and Dinesh Kaarthick was flown over as cover. “He was here as back-up, but he is going back to play the Ranji Trophy,” said Dhoni. The team has also released S Badrinath, who will join Kaarthick in Tamil Nadu’s game against Himachal Pradesh beginning in Dharmasala on Tuesday. “We are making a conscious effort to make players go and play first-class cricket.”

Kanpur dossier
* First Match: vs England on Jan 12, 1952. India lost by 8 wickets
* Last Match: vs South Africa on Apr 11, 2008.  India won by 8 wickets
* India’s record: Played: 20, Won: 5. Lost: 3. Drawn: 12
* Against Sri Lanka: Played: 1 on Dec 17, 1986. Match Drawn
* Highest total:
For India: 676/7 vs Sri Lanka on Dec 17, 1986. Match Drawn
For Opponents: 559/8d by England on Dec 15, 1964. Match Drawn
* Lowest total:
For India: 121 all out vs England on Jan 12, 1952. India lost by 8 wickets
For opponents: 105 by Australia on Dec 19, 1959. India won by 119 runs
* Highest individual score:
For India: 199 by M Azharuddin vs Sri Lanka on Dec 22, 1986
For opponents: 250 by SFAF Bacchus (W Indies) on Feb 6, 1979
* Best bowling:
In an innings: For India: 9-69 by Jesu Patel vs Australia, Dec, 1959. For opponents: 7-67 by G Dymock (Aus), Oct, 1979
In a match:
For India: 14-124 by J Patel vs Australia, Dec, 1959
For opponents: 12-124 by Alan Davidson (Aus), Dec, 1959.

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