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Updated: November 23, 2009 19:44 IST

Dhoni: Sehwag is licensed to thrill

Special Correspondent
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Delhi Dynamite: Virender Sehwag
The Hindu Delhi Dynamite: Virender Sehwag

Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni expected Virender Sehwag to fire in the second Test. “You don't really want to tell a player like him what to do. That is how he plays the game. He is more of an aggressor and is not the kind of guy who would stick to the wicket for one-and-half days. He is always looking to get on with game. We want him to play his natural game.”

Dhoni added Sehwag’s opening partner Gautam Gambhir was adept at playing according to the conditions and the situations. “He uses his feet very well against the spinners. He has delivered when the team needed him to.”

On pacemen S. Sreesath and Ishant Sharma, who could be vying for a place, Dhoni said, “Sreesanth has bowled with great pace and swung it a lot at the nets. Ishant, meanwhile, is back in rhythm, as we saw in Ahmedabad. He is putting in a lot of effort.”

Talking about the pitch, Dhoni said: “Compared to Motera, the pitch here looks different. It has got some grass but the base is dry. But you cannot really predict how the wicket would play over the next five days. Here the weather is cooler and as we know, initially there would be some help for the seamers. The outfield is not lush, so there would be some reverse swing for the fast bowlers. It will break as well.

Overall, I feel it would be a better wicket for the bowlers.” Dhoni saw nothing wrong in India preparing turning pitches for the home Tests, “In Australia you have the extra bounce and in England the ball would seam around for some time. It's a challenge to play on turning tracks.”

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said the team rued the missed opportunities in the first Test. He added, “We expect the team to carry forward the positives from the match. But there is no psychological edge for us and we will have to start from scratch. We are a little disappointed, but ultimately it was the wicket that won.”

Asked about spin legend Muttiah Muralitharan ordinary returns in the first Test, he said, “I don't see him as struggling. He is finding himself in a new way in the series. When you got a legend in your side, there will always be expectations. He is still a match winner.

Fortunately we have great support bowlers like Ajantha and Herath, and if one doesn't get you the wicket, there are four others.

While maintaining that Ajantha Mendis was in with a chance to make the eleven, Sangakkara kept his options open." Ajantha has always been in the reckoning. With the confidence and balance our team has, we can play three spinners if we want to. Or we can also replace Dammika Prasad with another fast bowler. Or we can also change a spinner.”

Meanwhile, Dinesh Karthik who was flown in as an emergency cover for Dhoni and S. Badrinath have been released from the squad to play in domestic cricket.

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