MS Dhoni skeptical about Yuvraj Singh's Test return; says team will play to strength against England
India skipper MS Dhoni does not share Sunil Gavaskar's view that the hosts are vulnerable against England in the upcoming series starting November 15. On Wednesday, he said that the team was raring to play good cricket in the four Test series.
Yuvraj Singh's brilliant form in domestic matches has made him a serious contender for a slot in the Test team but Indian captain M S Dhoni is still not sure whether the talented left-hander is ready to face the vigours of five-day cricket.
"It is very difficult for me to comment on his fitness sitting over here. We have to understand that five-day format has its own uncertainties unlike ODIs or T20s. In ODIs, you know that you have to field for 50 overs only, while in Test cricket there may be a situation that a team might bat for one-and-a-half to two days.
"We have to assess whether Yuvraj is ready to field for two days," Dhoni replied to a query on whether Yuvraj is fit enough to be selected for the Test series against England.
"Having said that it is Yuvraj who is the best judge about how he is feeling. He has played quite a few domestic games now and it is up to him to reflect on his game," the Indian skipper told the media persons during a promotional event on Wednesday.
Dhoni also spoke on the same lines as his colleagues Harbhajan Singh and Virat Kohli, with his vote going in favour of the turning tracks. (Related read: Raina backs 'no frontline spinner' theory)
"I still believe that the groundsmen know what really is good for us. Sporting track always doesn't mean that it will only have grass on it. In the sub-continent it has always been turning tracks, which is for the spinners.
"I haven't seen an off break bowler for a long time who is able to hit the rib cage of a batsman with a delivery that has turn and bounce. It's really painful but you enjoy the challenge," said Dhoni.
England Test series is being sought as a revenge series but Dhoni didn't want to predict the outcome.
"I don't believe in predicting results. I know that we need to train hard and also look into specific areas."
Asked about the new look Indian team, which wouldn't have the likes of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman against quality opposition, Dhoni quipped, "It might look new on paper but this side will reflect the confidence in all three formats in the days to come."
Dhoni however also said that he himself was not fit and therefore, did not play Ranji. (Related read: Dhoni has cough and cold; only top player to miss Ranji)
With the young guns in the team already voicing their intent to come down hard on England, he can expect a motivated playing XI against Alastair Cook's men. (Read: Virat Kohli wants revenge vs England)
MSD also said that he is satisfied with the team's performance in the shorter formats and, with time, it will translate into Tests as well.
Reacting to Sunil Gavaskar's comments that the Indian Test team looks the most vulnerable in three decades, Dhoni said on Wednesday that "on paper it might look the weakest" but he was confident that the team will only improve with time.
"On paper it may look the weakest. It is a different looking team after the retirement of Rahul bhai (Dravid) and V.V.S.Laxman. But we are also a very different side on the field. Slowly we are growing in confidence and I am hopeful that this team will only improve with time," said Dhoni at the launch of his gym Sportsfit.
Gavaskar had earlier said that the home side were going into the four-Test series against the world's number two team with a "wobbly" batting line-up and a weak-looking pace attack.(Read: Gavaskar feels India vulnerable against England)
Dhoni said the team was looking forward to the hectic six months ahead during which India host England, Pakistan and Australia. The four-match Test series against England starts November 15.
"The team has a busy time ahead with the home series against England, Pakistan Australia. We will try our best against England. We will try to do good and focus on the specifics. We need to be fit for the grueling time ahead. The side is doing well in the one-day format and it will take some time to get back to the top of Test cricket," said Dhoni.
As the topic of discussion was fitness, Dhoni shared his thoughts on the fittest player in the team.
"I think Virat Kohli is the fittest at the moment. Manoj (Tiwary) is another guy who is very fit," he said.
(With PTI and IANS inputs)