Dhoni hopes for turn and bounce
MS Dhoni, the India captain, has said he hopes the pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad will support spinners and generate some bounce and turn. However, he didn't say whether India would play two specialist spinners, though R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha are in the squad.
"When you come to the sub-continent, it's not like I am talking about [only] India, it could be Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh also, you need to have wickets that turn and that assist spinners. That's why they are special," Dhoni said. "Overall But it feels the spinners will get some bounce and turn as the game progresses."
This will be India's first Test series after the 0-4 debacle in Australia - and the first without Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, which means there will be competition for spots in the middle order. "It's an opportunity for youngsters to take up the responsibility in the longest format and we are hoping the youngsters will grab these opportunities and do well," Dhoni said.
The Test series marks the start of a long home season for India, only briefly interrupted by the World T20 in Sri Lanka. Dhoni said he wasn't looking too far ahead. "We have not played a Test match in the last six to seven months, so it will be important to turn up on the field and look to do small things right.
"It's important to get into the groove, give a bit more respect to the bowlers. This is one format where you can afford to that and we have to do that. Starting well means winning small sessions and if you win a majority of them, you win Test matches."
Both Dravid and Laxman were relied on heavily in the slip cordon but Dhoni believed the area was secure even in their absence, thanks to some good catchers in the current squad. "We have Virat [Kohli], [Suresh] Raina and we already have [Virender] Sehwag there, he will most likely stand in at first slip. I don't think we will be short of fielders who field at slips.
"Spinners can be a bit of an issue because it will be challenging especially when there is bounce. We may miss Rahul bhai over there, but let's just look ahead and give youngsters a chance and one of them may take some catches"