Dhoni wary of conditions, noon start ahead of first Test

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/d/dhoni9.jpg' class='caption'> A 12 noon start and conditions alien to the sub-continent are weighing on Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's mind on the eve of the first Test.

Updated: March 17, 2009 08:09 IST
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A 12 noon start and conditions alien to the sub-continent are weighing on Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's mind on the eve of the first Test against New Zealand at Seddon Park here.

Despite clinching the ODI series 3-1, Dhoni believes the Tests would be a different ball game and conditions would define which way the match veers.

"Over here the weather changes in 15-20 minutes. All of a sudden from being sunny it becomes cloudy. So it will be an important element in our decision to bat or bowl first," Dhoni said on Tuesday.

"If the wicket is a bit damp, and it is a bit cloudy, that is the toss you want to win. But definitely that one and a half hour will help the seamers," the wicketkeeper-batsman said.

However, Dhoni made it clear that players would have to adapt to the conditions.

"At the end of they day you have to adapt, whether you are a youngster or a senior. Of course, the youngsters will be guided by the seniors, but ultimately they are the ones who will have to perform."

The 27-year-old Dhoni felt the wicket and conditions would help seam bowlers. "It looks like a good wicket. Definitely there will be a bit of help for the fast bowlers. More than the wicket, the conditions will favour bowlers, as the ball will move. The base looks quite hard."

That's the reason the India captain is planning to go in with a three-pronged pace attack.

With Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan picking themselves, he is yet to decide whom to play as the third seamer in the first Test.

"We still have not decided, so we are not announcing the 12 yet. We will see who is the best bowler and who is better right now, and accordingly we will pick the third seamer," he said.

India have not won a Test series in New Zealand in 41 years and Dhoni is aware that to set things right, his bowlers would have to put in a massive effort.

"We are looking for a 3-1 combination. Each and every individual is important. It is not only about the new ball.

Most important thing is how the bowler is bowling from the 20th over onwards, when the glaze off the ball is gone and when there is not that much help. That is the time when a third seamer comes into play. That extra effort will be needed from all the three fast bowlers," he said.

The Indian skipper also defended speedster Munaf Patel, who came in for a bit of stick in the one-day series.

"He is a much better bowler than what he did in the one-dayers. He bowled as one-change seamer and the wickets were quite placid. Since New Zealand got off to good starts they targeted the third seamer. It is always tough to judge on the basis of the performance in one-day cricket."

Dhoni also expressed a bit of amazement hearing about the 12 noon start to the first Test and said it could be a cause for concern.

"It will be very different for us. Playing at night it seems like. Will go on till don't know what time. That will be definitely difficult. I have not played any Test that starts at 12. It is definitely a bit of concern."

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