Skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the retirement of Sachin Tendulkar was expected and it was always good to know such things in advance so that the team could prepare mentally.
“We have tried our best to keep ourselves away from distractions. As far as the team is concerned, nobody is thinking anything apart from cricket. The dressing room atmosphere is exactly the same. In a way the guys have done well to maintain the atmosphere,” he said.
Dhoni was all praise for medium-pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Calling him a “significant” part of the Test attack, he said, “he has been giving us good starts with the new ball even on wickets which are not really helpful to the fast bowlers. It is again important that we start off well with the new ball. If you get one or two wickets, it always helps the spinners,” he said.
Rahane or Rohit?
On whether he would play Ajinkya Rahane or Rohit Sharma, the Indian captain said it would depend on the balance of the side. “The thing is whether we want to go with four bowlers, have a fifth, or someone who can bowl a bit, if needed. That is one major decision.
“Though the decision is one, it is divided into three different aspects.
“If we go with five bowlers, both Rahane and Rohit may not play. If we need someone who can bowl a bit of off-spin, then Rohit may play.
“Thirdly, if we go with four specialist bowlers, Ajinkya stays,” he said.
About Bengal medium-pacer Mohammed Shami, Dhoni said he would definitely be a part of the Test side in future. “He bowls at good pace and is able to bowl good yorkers. We want to keep working with him to improve his fitness so that he can bowl long spells when he comes to the Test format,” he said.
The West Indies captain Darren Sammy said the team was honoured to play in Sachin Tendulkar’s farewell series.
“He is a great ambassador for the sport. He deserves all the hype and praise he is getting. At the end of the day, we are here to play cricket. We have to go out there and compete for five days,” said Sammy.
“We have a lot of respect for India, especially after the way they batted in the one-day series against Australia recently. It will be a tough battle for our bowlers.
Last time we bowled to Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar, we dismissed them thrice. We will look to execute our plans and take 20 important wickets,” he said.
“Shane Shillingford has been bowling well. We have a young Veerasammy Permaul who did well with the ‘A’ side.
“Shillingford is as capable as Sunil Narine,” said the West Indies captain.