England will face an aggressive M.S. Dhoni at the crease in the forthcoming five-Test series. “I realise about the need to be far more aggressive in Tests, than play like a proper batsman. I will leave that job to the others and whenever the ball is in my zone, plan to go for my shots. It is the better way to score runs,” reasoned the India skipper.
Team coach Duncan Fletcher was of the view that a younger team may be an advantage. “We are going with a relatively young side, sometimes it can be an advantage because they carry no baggage.” He was referring to the away series losses against England and Australia. “Those defeats were not easy to take.”
Talking on those lines, Dhoni too felt positive about leading a side with fresh faces. “The Test squad got exposure in South Africa and New Zealand. It is critical for the newcomers in the squad to get an idea of the conditions we are expected to face in England. The first few practice games will help.”
Recollecting the disastrous 2011 England tour, the Indian captain said: “We had eight to nine injuries, it put pressure on the other bowlers. We did not have part-timers who could bowl.”
Zaheer Khan limping out in the first Test was a blow the visitors could not recover from.
Dhoni explained the rationale behind carrying a 18-member squad this time.
“In a five-Test series, youngsters can replace those getting injured and will already have an idea of the conditions. Bowlers will know the length to bowl and batsmen will have fast bowlers.”
In 2011, India was at sea in the four Tests, losing 0-4. Dhoni and Fletcher were the captain/coach duo then.
Now three years later, they are in charge as team leaves for a full series, involving five Tests, followed by one-dayers and a T20 game.
The squad: M S Dhoni (capt), Gautam Gambhir, Murali Vijay, Shikhar Dhawan, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvaneshwar, Ishwar Pandey, Varun Aaron, Pankaj Singh, Wriddiman Saha (wk) and Stuart Binny.