India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said it was a privilege and an honour to be ‘sharing the same dressing room with SachinTendulkar.’
Lavishing praise on Tendulkar for completing 20 years in international cricket, Dhoni dwelt on the maestro’s influence on and off the field.
“He is a role model,” said Dhoni.
Talking about the first Test, he said the challenge before India was to “get into the Test mode after a series of Twenty20 and ODI games. We will have to prepare differently.”
Dhoni added the side will have to make mental and technical adjustments.
He denied there was any pressure on his team ahead of the Test series against Sri Lanka. “You need to go there, play positively and win. Once you win, there will be no pressure.”
Dhoni was not willing to reveal much on the composition of the team.
Asked about security provided for the series, Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara, said, “while nobody can provide foolproof security, the fact that we are safe here suggests that we are secure.”
He denied the Lankan team had sent letters to either the police or the BCCI seeking additional security.
The team hotel here resembled a fortress with about 300 policemen and 40 commandos guarding the two sides.
Turning his attention to the first Test, Sangakkara said, “We have nothing to lose. The Indians will have to ensure that they do not lose their first Test to us on home soil.”
While he acknowledged the importance of spin duo Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, Sangakkara stressed on left-arm spinner Rangana Herath’s contribution in recent months.
“In the home series, he outbowled both Muralitharan and Mendis.”
Sangakkara said the Lankans had trained hard for the Test series, which included practicing at home with SG ball — which has an enlarged seam. These balls will be used in the series here.
The Sri Lankan skipper said his side had a better balanced pace attack this time around. “Thilan Thushara, Dammika Prasad and Chanaka Welegedera can bowl around or over the 140 kmph mark while Nuwan Kulasekara is very consistent around 130.
“It’s not the speed alone that matters. They are also hitting the right areas. They can strike early, giving the spinners the latitude,” Sangakkara said.
He revealed slinger Lasith Malinga was still not fit enough for Test cricket.