Mahendra Singh Dhoni rues lack of genuine all-rounder ahead of Eden Test
Mahendra Singh Dhoni admits that absence of Ravindra Jadeja due to shoulder strain gives his team management a selection headache ahead of the first Test against the West Indies at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Tuesday said the lack of a genuine all-rounder is a concern and the team needs to find someone like Ravindra Jadeja who has been rested for the two-match Test series against the West Indies due to a shoulder strain.
India will begin Sachin Tendulkar's farewell series in international cricket with the first Test beginning at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Wednesday.
The absence of Jadeja has tilted the balance of the side.
"It has been a bit of a concern. I've always said that we need good seam bowler or a frontline spinner who can bat a bit. At times you don't realise the importance of a particular player. People criticise so much.
"Now that we don't have Jadeja we are thinking whether to have a fifth bowler or maybe another spinner who can bat a bit. Then the batting will become thin," Dhoni told reporters at the pre-match press conference.
The skipper said there are not enough options at the moment.
"We will have to find someone to do the job. It's always good to have a plan B or C... At the moment we don't have too many who can do the job," Dhoni said.
India are in a quandary over the bowling line-up and they are not sure whether to play with a five-men attack or give in-form Rohit Sharma the Test cap while using him as a part-time offspinner.
Asked whether Ajinkya Rahane or Rohit Sharma would get the No 6 spot, the skipper said: "Well the thing is whether we want to go with four bowlers or have a fifth to the attack, or someone who can bowl a bit if needed. That's one major decision. Though the decision is one, it's divided into three different aspects.
"If we go with five bowlers, both of them may not play. If we need someone who can bowl a bit of off-spin then Rohit plays. Thirdly, if we go with four specialist bowlers, Ajinkya stays," he said.
But India's top-order is settled with Cheteshwar Pujara doing the job at the No 3 spot.
Lavishing praise on Pujara, Dhoni said: "He's very calm and composed and technically sound. He has played a lot of domestic cricket with some really long innings. He's really contained but aggressive against spinners. He is more about piercing the gap and does not hit more fours and sixes. He knows his limitations and the experience of first class cricket helps him."
After a fine performance in the just concluded one-day series against Australia, Bengal pacer Mohammad Shami found a place in the Test squad, but the pacer may have to wait for his turn in the playing XI.
"Definitely he is (in our scheme of things) as he's part of the Test side. He's shaping really well. He has given us breakthroughs with the new ball, and with the rule changes it's very important.
"Also, he bowls at good pace and able to bowl good yorkers. We want to keep working with him to improve his fitness so that he can bowl long spell when he comes to Test format," he said.