Dhoni backs bowlers ahead of Kanpur Test

Kanpur, Nov 23 (Inditop.com) India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni backed his bowlers ahead of the second cricket test against Sri Lanka that starts here Tuesday.

Asked whether there would be any change in the bowling department, Dhoni said: “It has always been an issue in the media but you have to wait till tomorrow. Ishant (Sharma) is back in rhythm, as we saw in Ahmedabad. He is putting in a lot of efforts and the improvement is there to see. Sreesanth has bowled well in the nets too. He bowled with great pace and swung it a lot but we will have to wait till tomorrow.”

Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh was absent from Monday’s practice and Dhoni said: “Harbhajan is fine. It was an optional practice; we leave it to the players to decide how they want to prepare.”

Dhoni also backed Virender Sehwag’s batting. Sehwag is getting starts but is failing to convert them into big shots and it seems he lacks discretion in shot selection.

“You don’t really want to tell a player like him what to do. That is how he plays the game and is known for. He is more of an aggressor and is not the kind of guy who will stick to the wicket for one-and-half days. He is always looking to get on with the game. We want him to play his natural game,” said Dhoni.

On opener Gautam Gambhir, who scored a fine match-saving century in first Test, Dhoni said: “He (Gambhir) is a great character. Thrust him into any situation and he will play accordingly. He can shift gears easily and uses his feet well against the spinners.

“He has been consistently in good form over the past one-and-half years and whenever the team needed, he has delivered. Once he sets himself well, he goes for big innings.”

Motera has been disappointing but the Dhoni hoped that the Green Park pitch would produce some results.

“Compared to Motera, the pitch here looks different. It has got some grass and the base is dry. But you cannot really predict how the wicket will play the next five days. Here the weather is cooler and as we know, initially there will be some help for the seamers. The outfield is not lush, so there will be some reverse swing for the fast bowlers. The pitch will break as well. Overall, I feel it will be a better wicket for the bowlers,” Dhoni said.

Asked about the toss, Dhoni said: “First sessions will be important. Everyday there will be a bit of help for the pacers. Even in ODIs, we see the first 30-45 minutes are important. Now here you have to decide whether to bat first and go hard at the first one hour. Once you see through the first hour, it becomes easy to keep batting. Or you bat in the fourth innings and be at the receiving end of a pitch where the ball will be turning.”