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Updated: December 17, 2013 23:18 IST

The tour is a learning curve: Dhoni

Special Correspondent
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In this November 14, 2013 photo Sachin Tendulkar plays a shot as Kieran Powell jumps to avoid the ball during his last and 200th cricket Test match against West Indies at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Photo: K.R. Deepak
In this November 14, 2013 photo Sachin Tendulkar plays a shot as Kieran Powell jumps to avoid the ball during his last and 200th cricket Test match against West Indies at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. Photo: K.R. Deepak

"It was always good to have Sachin, but now that he won’t be there, we have to concentrate on what he have in our hands."

Anointed as India’s most experienced batsman following Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement, M.S. Dhoni refused to read too much meaning into it.

“Irrespective of the fact whether I am senior-most or not, every individual has a certain role and responsibility which will remain quite the same,” the Indian captain said here on Tuesday.

Looking ahead at the first Test, Dhoni said that the team’s preparation has been good despite an abandoned warm-up fixture at Benoni and also termed the tour as a learning curve for his young batsmen. “I am confident and that’s why they are here. It’s not an experiment that’s going on. There will be a few who won’t perform, few who will perform and once they go back home, they will carry a big baggage filled with all the positives about how they need to play Test cricket outside India,” he said.

And will Virat Kohli bat at number four? Dhoni cryptically said: “Wait and watch.”

‘Hitting the top of off-stump,’ would be the ideal line and length, proclaimed Dhoni and he stressed upon the key roles that Zaheer Khan and R. Ashwin could play in the series. Understandably he refused to read much into the victories at home and the losses in England and Australia and said: “Every series is a fresh start. No point bringing excess baggage.”

Earlier, Dhoni’s counterpart Graeme Smith said that “South Africa is probably the toughest place to bat in the world” and added that the Indian batsmen would be tested. “I know they are hugely talented. Touring other parts of the world is a test of character and it is certainly going to be for them in the two Tests,” the South African captain said.

Guarded reply

When asked about intimidating the Indians, Smith guardedly replied: “We will play the game hard and there is a big respect-factor for the game and the opposition. As the number one team in the world, I would like to see us have some good credibility and lead the game well. Ultimately we want to win this Test.”

Smith reiterated that the pitch will aid the fast bowlers and said: “Both first innings are probably going to be pretty tough. There is a bit of moisture in the wicket and the cracks are looking pretty good but not like (how) the WACA (Perth) looked but I expect it to be a normal Wanderers wicket, so the new ball will have something in it.”

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Test cricket is the real game. India's overseas tours recently have
taken a predictable turn. If the recent one dayers in South Africa are
any indication then we are probably staring at a 2-0 (inside five
days)result in favor of South Africa. After the usual shouting from
the media and some committed fans the South African tour memory would
begin to fade. Before we know it we will be on our way to England in
mid 2014 to play 5 tests. Again if the tour is planned the way the
South African Itinerary we are again looking at a 5-0 nil result in
favor of England.

from:  R Narayanan
Posted on: Dec 17, 2013 at 19:14 IST

The Indian cricket team should immediately stop this non sense, Sachin gone, Sehwag gone, Ganguly gone etc.... what was the team's status before these people could join the team? didn't we have even stronger people like kapil dev, gavaskar, srikanth etc? Instead of idolizing people the team has to identify new players from villages and other state and local teams and move on to make a better nation. We also need to take care of other games that will fetch medals in the Olympics.

from:  PSMAYO
Posted on: Dec 17, 2013 at 18:29 IST
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