On the eve of the first Test, India’s captain M.S. Dhoni spoke of the importance of R. Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha to the side.

“They understand each other very well. If the pitch is not turning, Ojha keeps it tight. Ashwin will always be a more aggressive bowler, in the sense that he has got plenty of variations. It’s not just that: we have seen occasions where Ojha gets the breakthrough and Ashwin does the containing job,” he said.

“The best part is that if they know there is something for them, they come into the game,” he said.

With Harbhajan Singh also in the squad, Dhoni ruled out playing three spinners. He said that the pitch was looking good.

“As the game progresses it may slow down, and the spinners might get some assistance…maybe, a bit of reverse swing for the fast bowlers, too. I am not a great reader of wickets…it definitely it looks dry.”

Excerpts from the media conference

On Zaheer Khan and Umesh Yadav missing nets on Wednesday

They have been given rest. They bowled during the camp in Mumbai and here also yesterday.

On Yuvraj Singh

He is someone who wants to perform at the top level, which is Test cricket. He bats at No.5 or No.6, and his left-arm spin is very crucial. The reason being, more often than not, because we don’t have a genuine all-rounder, we play four bowlers. So it’s important that the part-timers contribute, especially when the ball becomes old, you are waiting for new ball, you can’t use your fast bowlers and when you don’t want the spinners to be really tired because even with the new ball they come into play after just 10 overs.

I feel his contribution will be very important. He is quite intimidating when he bats.

He was part of the T20 side, and he has got a fair amount of exposure to international cricket before this.

Ultimately, he knows it’s all about cricket for him and he will be up for it.

On Kevin Pietersen

I never doubted that he would be part of the squad. Whatever was happening I knew he would surely be part of the team. He is a great batsman, an aggressive batsman who loves to play his shots. We will enjoy the contest between him and the ‘pie-chucker’ (Yuvraj).

On Test cricket

Definitely, Test cricket has a fututre. What is happening right now is a lot of (changes) in ODIs to make it interesting, which I feel is wrong.

But I feel every format is special in its own way.

On Harbhajan’s role

The important thing is he features among the four/five spinners.

The good thing is he is now part of this series, and he can share his experience with the youngsters.

Harbhajan has a big contribution to make in the series.

He will work a lot with the team and that should help him in the future.

On talk of this being a ‘revenge series’

I know for a fact that when we go onto the field, there will be a red ball and there will be two teams.

You can name it what you will, but it doesn’t change the fact that tomorrow we will be playing Test cricket.

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