India in South Africa 2013-14 December 3, 2013

Test batting on Dhoni's mind ahead of ODIs

MS Dhoni's half hour against the red ball in the nets, two days ahead of the South Africa ODI series, suggests he is thinking hard about his Test-match technique and team combination
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India are usually short on practice and preparation time in international cricket. MS Dhoni is usually philosophical about it. There are only so many days in a year, he seems to often suggest, and that he and his players have to make the most of what they get. India have landed in South Africa on Monday, and are due to play their first international on Thursday, with only one two-day tour game to follow between the ODIs and Tests.

"I don't know if it [preparation time] is enough or not but this is the only time we have," Dhoni said before leaving for South Africa. "We will try to have long practice sessions in the first one or two days that we have with us. We will have one light session before the match, and that is how we will get ready for the ODIs. That is how much we have got, and we have to get the best out of what we've got."

During the second of those long practice sessions, which India have to get the best out of, Dhoni seemed to have batted to his heart's content, properly against the India quicks, spinners and throwdowns from fielding coach Trevor Penney, and rashly against the low-quality net bowlers India had at their disposal. Just when you thought he was leaving, Dhoni padded up again. Behind his net at the Wanderers stood coach Duncan Fletcher, and CM Dhananjay, the team's analyst, was asked to bring a camera.

The surprise came when the red Kookaburras were brought out. Two days before the first ODI of the tour, Dhoni - a man who loves to stay in the present - spent half an hour doing exclusive Test-match practice, even as others around him played the big hits. With no change of ends and other such delays, you can face a good 10 overs in those 30 minutes. Fletcher remained in constant conversation with Dhoni from behind the net. Dhananjay, who is a decent bowler himself if allowed to bowl from 18 yards, and Penney's throwdowns tested Dhoni. At one point, as the ball began to lose some shine, Dhananjay applied a foreign substance to keep it new.

It seemed to be an exercise in moving forward to cover some of the late movement, and after the end of the session you could hear Fletcher telling Dhoni, "You can also ride the swing and play it late." Dhoni's batting was critical to India's success in the home Tests earlier this year, but he has had a weakness against the moving quick ball when he plays with hard hands outside off and edges through. He has in the past said that that is the way he plays and can't do much about it.

Not on this net session's evidence. At the very least, Dhoni is looking at his batting with much more responsibility now that he is the more experienced batsman in the side. He is possibly looking at himself as more than the declaration batsman or the saviour on the odd occasion that has been.

However, this early Test preparation of Dhoni's could have a bigger implication. It was not just Dhoni's batting in India that worked, but it was also the balance his move up to No. 6 provided, with the extra spinner drafted in. There were no tired bowlers around, no soft overs when the ball would become old and take slow turn. Three years ago, in Cape Town, when India had the upper hand in the second innings, their bowlers - playing a third back-to-back Test - lost their sting on day four, although you can't take away from Jacques Kallis' genius that day.

You wondered, though, what if India had an allrounder, like Kallis himself, who could bowl a few fresh overs then. Like the limited preparation time, Dhoni knows there is no proper allrounder in the country. So he combined with Ravindra Jadeja and R Ashwin to kind of contrive one. The natural question was, if he would be able to do the same outside Asia. If he would be confident enough to do so outside Asia. Before leaving Asia, Dhoni kept his cards close to his chest, but didn't rule out a move up to No. 6.

"Well it's something that we have to go there and decide," Dhoni said. "We have to see the strength of our batting line-up. And at the same time whether four bowlers are good enough to get the opposition out. It's something that we have to weigh out.

"In the last Test match also we played with four bowlers, and Rohit [Sharma] was the one who batted at No. 6. If you see at times five batsmen are not enough, even six are not enough. And if you see the last two Test matches, the No. 6 batsman has had a lot of impact on the game. We will weigh how it is and then decide as to whether 3-1 [bowling] combination is good enough or we have to play with 3-2."

A lot, of course, was going to depend on how Dhoni feels about his batting in the ODIs and in the nets. If he is thinking of not letting "I dare not" wait upon "I would", unlike the cat i' the adage, he is at least spending as much time preparing as he can.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ToeCruncher on December 4, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    South African pitches are generally very good pitches. They usually offer something for the quicks early on, something for the batsman in the middle, and something for the spinners late. That is why I rate performances in SA so highly, every batsman and bowler is tested, and their skills are accurately reflected. The game is usually not skewed in the direction of one skill (i.e. batting / spinners / quicks), but balanced for all the skills.

  • 30-30-150 on December 4, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    India does have promising allrounders in Rishi Dhawan, Jalaj Saxena, Baba Aparajith and Parvez Rasool.

  • ramli on December 4, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    @The Way Cricket Should Be Played ... lower order batsmen do cotribute a lot even in overseas tests ... they are the ones that make the score rise to a decent level in case of top order failure ... they have done it before ... they can do it again ... one man show won't work abroad ... it has to be a collective show with 3-4 players striking 50 ... may be one going to 100+ ... the new and young Indian team is capable of that ... good luck

  • on December 4, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    Rishi Dhawan is an all rounder candidate India should look at seriously

  • on December 4, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    I think India should go with 5 + 1 + 2 + 3 combination for at least the First Test. Indian fasters can't stay fresh for a long time therefore it is required to have more than one spinner who could keep our fast bowlers to stay fresh. Therefore the combination at least for the first test will be Dhawan, Vijay, Purara, Rohit Sharma, Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuveneshwar Kumar, Shami and Ishant Sharma since Jadeja and Ashwin could bat and could give some balance to the side. If the openers see off the new ball then Pujara, Rohit and Kohli could manage the old ball well. Our guys have very good experience in handling Steyrn and Morne Morkel in the IPL and therefore could be able to handle their pressure since they will know some of their tactics.

  • TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on December 4, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    I believe Dhoni should concentrate more on his Keeping skills and fitness levels as South African batting lineup will be going to make merry of Indian Bowling lineup if conditions are not overcast. In that scenario, even a single Drop catch or Miss Stumping of a batsman like Kallis/Amla will cost India dearly as they will not give second chance. Coming to Dhoni's batting roles, it can be either one of two scenarios,1) if India is in trouble he has play defensively which is very tough for him in RSA pitches, he cant survive for long, so he has to hit out or get out. 2) If India gets good start, he has to finish innings will a flurry which he can do on any pitch if he wants, so final conclusion is there is nothing for him to concentrate much for tests. So, better he concentrate on ODIs where India has possibility of winning or he contributing more to team.Hope he/other ESPNCricinfo readers understands this logic

  • TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on December 4, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    @satishchandar , I don't think Ashwin(even Jadeja/Dhoni) would be as useful lower order batsman as he would be in Sub-Continent conditions. So India should rather rely on top 4-5 batsment performances and their stay at the wicket ALAP( as long as possible) so avoid loss or looking for a draw in test matches. Otherwise if we think that lower order can also contribute, we will see that they will be bounced out/paced out by Proteas fast bowling lineup

  • Protears on December 4, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    There is a lot of fallacy about playing in South African conditions; First is the assumption that pitches are green tops that suit our barrage of high quality seam bowlers. This is false, South African pitches do have grass to bind the surface but nothing remotely greentop due to the propensity for backfire (AKA vs india at the wanderers in 2007 or India vs England in Mohali this year) setting favourable conditions backfires more than it does any good. The other aspect is that the new ball is pivotal for both the batting and fielding side, you get through the new ball and batting is easier, but without the odd flat track by day 3-5there is always a chance for bat and ball. The second fallacy is that pitches are designed for quicks not for spin, we have seen Ajmal, Swann, Harbhajan and Warne cause all kinds of problems on SA pitches due to the fast turn and bounce you get.

    I completely disagree with anyone that suggests SA conditions are tailored, if anything they are fair

  • ashankar on December 4, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    I think Dhoni is going to walk in at Number 4!

  • Pathiyal on December 4, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    good mindset from the skipper - to go for nothing less than a win! let's see how this inexperience side will end up with!

  • ToeCruncher on December 4, 2013, 13:17 GMT

    South African pitches are generally very good pitches. They usually offer something for the quicks early on, something for the batsman in the middle, and something for the spinners late. That is why I rate performances in SA so highly, every batsman and bowler is tested, and their skills are accurately reflected. The game is usually not skewed in the direction of one skill (i.e. batting / spinners / quicks), but balanced for all the skills.

  • 30-30-150 on December 4, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    India does have promising allrounders in Rishi Dhawan, Jalaj Saxena, Baba Aparajith and Parvez Rasool.

  • ramli on December 4, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    @The Way Cricket Should Be Played ... lower order batsmen do cotribute a lot even in overseas tests ... they are the ones that make the score rise to a decent level in case of top order failure ... they have done it before ... they can do it again ... one man show won't work abroad ... it has to be a collective show with 3-4 players striking 50 ... may be one going to 100+ ... the new and young Indian team is capable of that ... good luck

  • on December 4, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    Rishi Dhawan is an all rounder candidate India should look at seriously

  • on December 4, 2013, 11:17 GMT

    I think India should go with 5 + 1 + 2 + 3 combination for at least the First Test. Indian fasters can't stay fresh for a long time therefore it is required to have more than one spinner who could keep our fast bowlers to stay fresh. Therefore the combination at least for the first test will be Dhawan, Vijay, Purara, Rohit Sharma, Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuveneshwar Kumar, Shami and Ishant Sharma since Jadeja and Ashwin could bat and could give some balance to the side. If the openers see off the new ball then Pujara, Rohit and Kohli could manage the old ball well. Our guys have very good experience in handling Steyrn and Morne Morkel in the IPL and therefore could be able to handle their pressure since they will know some of their tactics.

  • TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on December 4, 2013, 10:05 GMT

    I believe Dhoni should concentrate more on his Keeping skills and fitness levels as South African batting lineup will be going to make merry of Indian Bowling lineup if conditions are not overcast. In that scenario, even a single Drop catch or Miss Stumping of a batsman like Kallis/Amla will cost India dearly as they will not give second chance. Coming to Dhoni's batting roles, it can be either one of two scenarios,1) if India is in trouble he has play defensively which is very tough for him in RSA pitches, he cant survive for long, so he has to hit out or get out. 2) If India gets good start, he has to finish innings will a flurry which he can do on any pitch if he wants, so final conclusion is there is nothing for him to concentrate much for tests. So, better he concentrate on ODIs where India has possibility of winning or he contributing more to team.Hope he/other ESPNCricinfo readers understands this logic

  • TheWayCrciketShouldBePlayed on December 4, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    @satishchandar , I don't think Ashwin(even Jadeja/Dhoni) would be as useful lower order batsman as he would be in Sub-Continent conditions. So India should rather rely on top 4-5 batsment performances and their stay at the wicket ALAP( as long as possible) so avoid loss or looking for a draw in test matches. Otherwise if we think that lower order can also contribute, we will see that they will be bounced out/paced out by Proteas fast bowling lineup

  • Protears on December 4, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    There is a lot of fallacy about playing in South African conditions; First is the assumption that pitches are green tops that suit our barrage of high quality seam bowlers. This is false, South African pitches do have grass to bind the surface but nothing remotely greentop due to the propensity for backfire (AKA vs india at the wanderers in 2007 or India vs England in Mohali this year) setting favourable conditions backfires more than it does any good. The other aspect is that the new ball is pivotal for both the batting and fielding side, you get through the new ball and batting is easier, but without the odd flat track by day 3-5there is always a chance for bat and ball. The second fallacy is that pitches are designed for quicks not for spin, we have seen Ajmal, Swann, Harbhajan and Warne cause all kinds of problems on SA pitches due to the fast turn and bounce you get.

    I completely disagree with anyone that suggests SA conditions are tailored, if anything they are fair

  • ashankar on December 4, 2013, 8:28 GMT

    I think Dhoni is going to walk in at Number 4!

  • Pathiyal on December 4, 2013, 7:56 GMT

    good mindset from the skipper - to go for nothing less than a win! let's see how this inexperience side will end up with!

  • on December 4, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    blade runners i think srllanka need lots of luck to win even 1 odi in bangladesh in upcoming series.

  • Sharathsk on December 4, 2013, 7:53 GMT

    Or maybe Rahane at the expense of Jadeja/Ojha ??

  • Sharathsk on December 4, 2013, 7:23 GMT

    Will be interesting to see if Ojha will get the nod ahead of Jadeja - after all he was Man of the Match in last test.

  • Jalz007 on December 4, 2013, 6:57 GMT

    The most anticipated match of the year, i dare say.....

  • Bladerunners on December 4, 2013, 6:27 GMT

    It will b fun to watch these club level batsmen like dhawan kohli pujara oh of course rohit sharma.hope this guys can last 10 balls in tests.hope it isnt too much for these batsmen in fast bouncy sa pitch.

  • u_guys_are_history on December 4, 2013, 6:25 GMT

    @Albert_Campbell : 'Club cricketers' ? big statement to make about the Number one ODI side, especially from someone who's team just lost a home series to Pakistan..lol..

  • satzcrazy1 on December 4, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    @ThilanKak... Dude, can you please explain me how many series Sri Lanka won in South Africa. Recently, New Zealand shaken your team in your home backyard. Please look at your team, only the senior players are performing, all the youngsters are struggling at international level. Please stop criticizing Indian team unnecessarily unless they loose badly.. Lets the play begins.

  • on December 4, 2013, 5:31 GMT

    mr naveed khan what about pakistan performance in overseas. lost io australia 3-0 in tests,lost to england 3-1,lost to proteas 3-0 even lost to zimbewaye in last 5 years.

  • Albert_cambell on December 4, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    It will be interesting to look at how these club cricketers perform against us in SA.

  • satishchandar on December 4, 2013, 3:48 GMT

    The challenge will be, whether India can afford to play Ashwin in at 6/7 on current batting form against the best attack in their den. He plays late and adds more value to his wicket more than any other no.6 in the squad. Bring in Rohit to 4 and keep Virat at 5. Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Rohit, Virat, MSD, Ashwin, RJ(control in bowling and we have seen many left arm spinners succeeding against SA than offie recently), Bhuvi, Zak and Shami. I would certainly opt for this line up.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 4, 2013, 3:32 GMT

    @JasonBourneAgain: Everyone has the right to dream. Even you can keep on dreaming - about winning anything significant in an ICC tournament which your team has never done EVER. Don't write this Indian team off. You could regret it buddy.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 4, 2013, 3:30 GMT

    I think this clearly demonstrates India's priority. They are in SA to WIN the series. This is very healthy for Indian fans and the players alike. This is another reason to get excited for this series and a sound warning to the BCCI and CSA to ensure we have a much longer bilateral tour in the future. Anyway, MSD recognizes his lack of impact in test cricket as a batsman and is leading the way to inspire youngsters in the team to work hard at their game. This is why he is a CHAMPION. He has won world cups, World T20s, Champions Trophies. IPL tournaments, CLT20s etc. He values his own game before advising others. I LIKE this attitude.

  • yuvi_gladiator on December 4, 2013, 3:25 GMT

    the fact that this SA team is ranked number 5 in odis is testament that odi cricket is very hard to play considering there odi team is almost same as tests and its hard to score when there is scoreboard pressure. So both formats test the different kind of skill sets of a batsman. for being considered complete a batter has to prove himself both in odis and tests.

  • Srilanka-rules on December 4, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    @JasonBourneAgain, it would be really a fun for u guys over there watching teams biting the dust in tailored made conditions. But last time when even the 'overrated India' toured SA the series was 1-1. Had it not been good batting of Kallis, it would have been 2-0, if you do have any doubt please check it in stastguru and be enlightened. But, this time I also don't have much expectation for Ind and it would be SA again. Nevertheless, when SA tours IND, you are going to fretful as nowadays in tests in IND it is not the flat tracks but doctored pitches which is prepared to suit home teams like elsewhere. Aus found out bitterly. SA will soon find it.

    P.S: We all know why SA doesn't tour Srilanka since 2006

  • on December 4, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    thilan k good luck srilanka for series against bangladesh because you gonna get whitewash form them cheers.

  • yuvi_gladiator on December 4, 2013, 3:06 GMT

    @JasonBourneAgain where was the number 1 team when india visited SA last time. SA were sweating just to save matches at the end forget about winning. still 60-40 SA because of the inexperience in indian squad but should be a good series.

  • Srilanka-rules on December 4, 2013, 3:03 GMT

    It will be a blunder if they don't select Rahane and go for Jaddu. Jaddu is outstanding in India, but seriously do not consider him as an all rounder. Even in India he struggles with bat. And Dhoni @6 is really laughable. You need proper technique to excel in those conditions. Batting avg of high 30's just reflects the abilities. Practise with white or red ball doesn't matter, when you face world class bowlers like steyn who destroyed proper batsman in doctored conditions, how much time will Dhoni last?

    I believe only Pujara, Rohit and even Rahane can survive in those tailored conditions but rest is doomed for failure. Kohli may come good in one innings. The total we are looking in each innings would be around 200-280.

    But I believe instead of Jadeja, if India is going for 4 fast medium bowlers there is still an outside chance for the unthinkable. But rest assured, when SA tours IND next time, they will face the same result like Aus did. Every one are KINGs in their own backyard.

  • on December 4, 2013, 1:58 GMT

    Indian suffer from short term memory loss... this is the result of post world cup australia tour... best strategy to stay in india and make >300 plus pitches Dhoni is not the only shaky pillar of what only eight months ago was the number one cricket nation in the world. VVS Laxman, once the scourge of Australian bowlers, is being flayed himself at home Virender Sehwag, who warmed up for this series by scoring the fastest double century in One-Day International history, also is trending south faster than Scott and Amundsen, having followed up his whirlwind 67 in Melbourne with innings of 7, 30, 4, 0 and 10. Worst of all, Dhoni has failed with the bat. The Indian captain is no thunderer at the best of times - India has not had a single century-maker in the past three Tests,

  • jango_moh on December 4, 2013, 1:49 GMT

    regardless of the results in the tests, we shud support these young batsmen as they will learn from the experience of the away tours this year..... too much has been made of india's last 2 away tours losses without seeing the context.. an ageing batting lineup reaching the end of their careers..... the same group of batsmen won the series before that in eng and had drawn series in aus and SA.... all said, i still think the batsman are good enuf to play outside cricket outside!!!!! lets go BAAYZZZZ

  • Siva_Bala75 on December 4, 2013, 1:32 GMT

    Dhoni is smart; we should leave it to him to choose the best XI. My opinion though is to play 5 bowlers in the tests; play Jadeja i/o Ojha. Dhoni at No. 6

  • Gurudumu on December 4, 2013, 1:17 GMT

    I like the present new generation Indian team and strongly believe they will acquit themselves. There's no reason why they can't win the series or draw - remember cricket is just a game and even the best teams do lose at times! Of importance, in my view, is that India will gain invaluable experience facing Saffers and provide a gauge on where the team is at the moment and what needs to be tweaked going forward. My preference, like all others would have been a 3 Test series. BTW, I'm a Saffers supporter.

  • ProdigyA on December 4, 2013, 0:57 GMT

    I think India should go with 3+2 combo as u need to take 20 wickets to win a test match, because:

    1. The three bowlers, Bhuvi is not dependable after the new ball, Shami is still very new to Tests, Zak is returning after a long hiatus. Don't think Umesh stands a chance after his recent Ranji performance. So pace dept is not really strong.

    2. If India go with 3+1, who is the replacement? Rahane, which would be his first Test and too much pressure on him and can't expect him to perform immediately.

    So 3+2 is the way to go and hope the top order fire big and also hope jaddu can cement his place as a batting alrounder instead of bowling alrounder.

  • Al_Bundy1 on December 3, 2013, 23:50 GMT

    I predict the test series to 1-1. India will lose in Johannesburg but win in Durban India needs a pace bowling all rounder on seamer friendly wickets. Rishi Dhawan is perfect for this role. It's still not too late to replace Ishant with Rishi

  • jb633 on December 3, 2013, 23:48 GMT

    @rohan8579, be careful what you post before a series, especially with the contest that lies ahead for your side. This will not be played on the dustbowls you have been playing on for a year but on tracks seaming around and tailor made to suit Steyn and Philander. These guys are world class and easily the best opening bowlers in the world at the moment. If India lose it is no disgrace but they must show promise in areas ,particularly with their seam bowlers. If they push SA in both games at least one can look on the tour as improvement. If India give up like they did in Eng/Aus it will be really disappointing for the cricketing world as nobody wants to see one sided contests. Please whatever happens fans should not moan about the pitches. I remember Perth being described as a pasteurised cow field on here but the decks in SA are normally harder to bat on.

  • Haz95 on December 3, 2013, 22:30 GMT

    Steyn and Co. will put Dhoni and his boys into their place. I'm sorry but BCCI keeps avoiding tests and is still demaning for more money whilst their teams are losing out on test experience. Domestic, First class in India has no variety, Indian bowlers cannot practice, neither batsmen due to flat and easy batting tracks. Dhonis, who's world class only in odi and t20i, knows his boys are gonna be in trouble and is right to worry about the red ball since Odis is what india tend to do better in anyway. odi, sa win 2-1 test. sa win 2-0 or 1-0 and one draw due to the batting t20, india should have this in the bag due to IPL driving them insane so they only have the hit 6 mindset.

  • on December 3, 2013, 21:46 GMT

    IMHO, the Indian bowling side is too inexperience to beat SA in SA, esp tests. India's pace attack consist of Bhuvi and Shami who are relatively inexperience in 'Non Asian' conditions. I know guys can swing but honestly, they are very medium fast at best.

    You can easily rule out Vijay and Jadeja to make any sizable contribution as batsmen. Dependency on Rohit, Dhawan, Pujara is too much.

    I dare say, Gambhir should be considered for the tests to bring some sense, confidence and expeience

  • huffpost on December 3, 2013, 21:32 GMT

    The fact that dhoni is preparing extra hard means that indian playing eleven is decided and confirmed..dhoni will bat at 6 and jadeja/ ashwin at 7/8..rahane has no place and will have to sit out ...I think it's the best thing to do ...Jadeja will be handy option with the ball with his nagging accuracy ..though the surface will not aid spin, with his accuracy if he can keep the SA batsmen tight and restrict scoring, that will be great...and if can contribute a little with the bat , that would be a bonus...Zak bhuvi and shami will be the 3 pacers...

  • on December 3, 2013, 21:24 GMT

    As an ardent fan of MSD, I would love to see him win the test series and show his mettle and worth as great Indian test captain who can win series overseas too. I would differ from some of the team combinations mentioned in the comment section..I think on green, fast and bouncy tracks India should go with 4 seamers..Zaheer, Shami, Umesh and Bhuvi with Ashwin ( all rounder ) as the spin option. This would be the best bowling attack India could play with, IMO. Where as the batting - Dhawan, Vijay ( though would have preferred Gambhir ), Pujara, Virat, Rohit and MSD. No place for SRJ for the first match.

  • GrindAR on December 3, 2013, 20:53 GMT

    Wish to see Ind bowlers make SA batsmen to toil for their runs. Dhoni should come up with a best fielding strategy.

  • on December 3, 2013, 20:44 GMT

    Dhoni's record in Last Three Test Series outside India is Won 1, Lost 8 and Drawn 1. What are Indians talking about?

  • Temuzin on December 3, 2013, 20:10 GMT

    @ jb633, Do you have any one in mind among Indian wicket keepers who can play on fast and bouncy pitches against fast bowlers better than dhoni?

  • Temuzin on December 3, 2013, 20:07 GMT

    @arif_cric Irfan has not been successful in domestic cricket since a few years. Same is true for RP Singh. I dont think with the current breed of young players emerging Irfan or RP have any chance for come back. Jadeja is top ranked ODI bowler and has been very successful against OZ in tests in India and in England (CT). Given the correct batting position and time he will succeed in batting too. He is there to stay and if not then some body like Baba Aparajith and Sanju Samson will replace him in future and not irfan. Irfan has lost it to too much glamour.

  • bhav25 on December 3, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    My India team for first test is 1 ajinkya. 2 Sikhar 3 cheteswar 4 virat 5 Rohit 6 Raydu 7 dhoni 8 jadeja 9 z khan 10 Sami 11 Bhubaneswar

  • rohan8579 on December 3, 2013, 20:01 GMT

    @JasonBourneAgain...Yes i indeed learnt new English which is "Sour Grapes", after I see people like you commenting whenever you see a article on Indian team or BCCI, in short anything related to India....people like you have made BCCI the richest board and Indian cricket team the most famous...ppl like you mostly surfaced before the Champions Trophy, and later on went on to say the pitches in England were tailored made for Indian superstars bcoz of BCCI or whatever, ppl like you whose team couldn't do nothing in any of the ICC events in past few years or even before and comments on Indian performance, in a way trying to make Indian team learn Cricket, where they have produced results in favor of them far greater in last few years than any other teams...so yea New English, Sour grapes are inspired from you ...in a way...kuddos to you...ppl like you make this forum awesome and fun filed...pls keep up the good work, Sour GRAPE of Grapes....

  • Yousufahmed1 on December 3, 2013, 19:59 GMT

    @ ThilankaK HAHA already assuming that IND will lose becoz SL will lose to Pak for sure. LOL. We will thrash your minnow SL team to pieces. Club level cricketer of SL.

  • Bamarolls on December 3, 2013, 19:53 GMT

    The biggest gift Dhoni brought back to team India was his ability to impose his will and win the game - no matter the circumstances. Kapil was probably the first one to bring that attitude into the team. Now that the baggage of vintage classic players (all great in their prime) has been lifted from Dhoni's shoulders - he will do just great. My fear is ... we might run out of adjectives beautiful enough to describe the team by the time they are done with SA. My predictoin: 3-0 in ODIs, 2-0 in Tests. As for my 11...who cares?

  • IndCricFan2013 on December 3, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    Dhoni realizes the tough time ahead. In his 6 year Captaincy, 7 year T-20 career and 9 year ODI career he has done many wonders. He has done things that other Indian captains could not do by being captain cool. The missing piece in his resume is few knocks that we could call great, outside of sub continent and some good captaincy and wins outside Sub-continent. If he can achieve this he could be rated as one of the best captain ever in international cricket. Although he does not have Dravid, Sachin and Laxman to perform overseas, the luxury that Ganguly had in their prime, the likes of Pujara and Kohli can make up. The key thing that current bunch can make is to contribute as a team overseas, which was not possible towards the end when Dravid and Sachin were playing, only one of them succeeding in England and Australia.Only one person scoring is not going to win test match for India, but team performance is the way forward.

  • AamirKhan-SuperStar on December 3, 2013, 19:25 GMT

    Irfan Pathan! He can bat better than Jadeja or Ashwin. I wished he could be fit, by now he should have played 250 games for india. Wish things dint go the way they did for him.

  • silentstand on December 3, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    Already people make2-0comments ridiculous .this series will most likely be 1-1 and any non bias fan can see that even though I support the saffas

  • JasonBourneAgain on December 3, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    @ rohan8579 I see you learnt new English words "sour grapes". " ..if India wins 2-0 in tests and 3-0 in ODIs...", wake up my boy, that dream of yours, it ain't gonna happen ;)

  • PPD123 on December 3, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    I think the sensible option would be to go in with 5 bowlers (3 medium + 2 spinners). I think Dhoni likes to have Jadeja and Ashwin as options given that they provide depth to the Indian batting coming in at #7 & 8. With Bhuvi due at 9, India should be well covered. I think Vijay will open in the 1st test along with Dhawan (but I personally like the option of Rahane) given that he has done well in the home series against Aus. Dhoni at 6, with Pujara, Kohli and Rohit above him will lend a nice balance to this side. I am pretty optimistic about this side. They dont have any baggages or scars of the past, and have shown that they have it in them to succeed at the highest level. Hope we have an excellent series... personally dissapointed that it is only 2 tests... shud have been atleast 3.

  • arif_cric on December 3, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    this is where irfan pathan could be handy with the ball as well as with bat...... 3-2 bowling combination is a bit risky,,, as jadeja is not shown any kind of batting talentl, like they called zaheer they should include irfan also, swing and avg btng, if irfan is thr look at the balance of indian side, vijay dhawan pujara kohli rohit dhoni irfan ashwin zaheer b,kumar shami, 6 genuine batsman 2 above avg batsman 4 regular fast bowler 1 good spiner, if require rohit also can bowl good spin,

  • jb633 on December 3, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    IMO if Dhoni fails here he should retire from test cricket and give the gloves to a keeper who can play the quicks on seaming decks. As much as I like and respect Dhoni you can't be carrying anyone in top class sport and unless his batting and glovework improves from the tours of ENG/AUS they should look for a replacement. My prediction is India will be annihilated here but perform against our declining team in England. Good luck to India though you may need it.

  • Temuzin on December 3, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    @ Hari Bahadur Bhandari Very well said. MSD is the only captain to have white washed Australia 4-0.

  • Temuzin on December 3, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    @ Naman Gupta, yeah but we were talking about fifth bowler. If you remember last time India could not finish the tail in last test due to absence of fifth bowler and four bowlers were tired. This time in my opinion India should play 5 bowlers ( fifth one should be able to bat a bit). Ashwin and Jadeja can fetch some runs if need be. then five batsmen and dhoni should take responsibility of scoring bulk of the runs, Including jadeja has another advantage. Its his fielding in which he saves 20-30 runs and gets a few run outs too. And rahane on the other hand has not set the world on fire in what ever chances he got. Unlike Dhawan and Kohli. Any way, I am hopeful India will do good this time.

  • rohan8579 on December 3, 2013, 18:37 GMT

    I see lot of SOUR GRAPES around...Its great to see the LEADER of most talented cricketers think ahead and setting the example for his peers...I just hope Once and for all Dhoni & team put these SOUR grape away...I know it would be difficult to put these SOUR GRAPE away, as if India wins 2-0 in tests and 3-0 in ODIs, they will come up with excuse of "BCCI go the pitches made suitable for Indians" in SA...It will be FUN to see these SOUR grapes at the end of the series....

  • JasonBourneAgain on December 3, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    @ gsingh7, careful, you are playing against the best test team in the world in their back yard and not against the West Indies in India where you can only win in India...

  • TommytuckerSaffa on December 3, 2013, 18:03 GMT

    Don't worry Dhoni. Anil Kumble has put you in the World eleven. I'm sure you will easily deal with Steyn and Philander ...

  • IndTheBest on December 3, 2013, 18:01 GMT

    I am confident that Indian team would do fairly good in this tour. They don't have anything to lose after the last 2-3 horrible away tours. They might miss the experience of stalwarts in the team but energy brought by new lads will compensate that. Fans often questions Rahane's credentials of test matches but for me he is more of a test player than T20 or ODI. Somehow we always mistake play him in shorter version of the games. Pujara in contrast would be equally good in both the formats.

  • on December 3, 2013, 18:00 GMT

    Sorry guys we will miss gambhir snd Bhajji both. Mark my words good to build the team.but we didn't play smart. Against a club level win dies . It's ok not against styn and morsel

  • SurlyCynic on December 3, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    Clever of BCCI to only allow 2 tests, then they can go back to flat tracks. The helicopter shot won't work against bouncers at the Wanderers, but no worries as the IPL starts again soon so the whitewash will soon be forgotten.

  • on December 3, 2013, 17:53 GMT

    Hopefully they have recovered from hangover of bating paradise of Indian wickets

  • on December 3, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    @cricketsunami: You didn't read my comment thoroughly bro. What I said was that with our batting line-up being inexperienced, we need to play 6 batsmen plus Dhoni in the test matches thus omitting Jadeja from the team and playing four bowlers as a result and yes you are right..inclusion of Rahane doesn't solve India's fifth bowler woes.

  • ThilankaK on December 3, 2013, 17:31 GMT

    It will be sorry site for IND !

  • on December 3, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    Rahane has failed in every international form of the game, and I believe that it would be stupid to play him against the best test team in the world. The top 5 are on the greatest form, and it will be stupid if they add him as this will miss up their current flow. I have a feeling, Pujara, Kohli, and Rohit are gonna kill it.

    1. Dhawan 2. Vijay 3. Pujara 4. Kohli 5. Rohit 6. Dhoni 7. Jadeja 8. Ashwin 9. Umesh 10. Zaheer 11. Shami

  • on December 3, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    @NAYANPALLY you have shown the fact that MSD is the only Indian Captain who lost 4-0 twice, but you forgot that happened in overseas. If it happened overseas for Indians then it definitely applies for Ausies that they also taste the bitterness of loosing 4-0 in India. So do you agree that MSD is the only Indian batsmen who made it for India?

  • gsingh7 on December 3, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    right wat to go about the job. as sa india frictions have left just 2 day game for preparing for tests, indian batsmen should prepare for red ball only. we have seen that white ball cricket is easy for indians and i am predicting 3-0 win for world champions. test will be whether young Indian batsmen become first team to WHITEWASH SA IN SA? THAT IS ABOUT TO BE SEEN IN NEXT WEEKS.

  • on December 3, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    Virat Kholi the man to watch out for

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    This proves that dhoni had taken this tour very serious. He can bat at top order if he wants, but he lets the other batsmen to get experience as he knows that he might retire with in few years. well thinking of dhoni will make team INDIA strong in future also.

  • Temuzin on December 3, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    @Naman Gupta Is Rahane a better bowler than Jadeja? Then how inclusion of rahane will solve the India's fifth bowler problem?

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    As MSD said earlier, it's good that they have ODIs first. It gives an opportunity to screen batsmen against genuine pace. If Jadeja copes well with it, I won't be surprised to see a 3- 2 bowling combination. The likely team for tests would be Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni, Jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvaneshwar/Umesh, Zahir, Shami. This is only a wild guess as we can never be sure of the fitness of the indian pacemen. The late inclusion of Zahir Khan is a master stroke by the Indian think tank, which the SA management might not have foreseen. If he stays fit, India won't lag behind?

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:46 GMT

    wish you all the best.best of luck dhoni

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    Dhoni with experience of 78 test matches becomes the senior most batsman of the side along with additional responsibilities of wicketkeeping and captaining one of the most inexperienced sides. Gambhir's experience would have been crucial to handle an inexperienced batting order but all the teams have to start with transition someday and the change which our team has gone through in recent times with all the young batsmen performing and having a serious ability to play short pitched bowling is remarkable. However, I still have doubts over one opening slot and the no.6 slot. Vijay just doesn't convince me as a long term option and Gambhir should force his way into the side with bucketful of runs. I would love to have the luxury of playing 5 bowlers in SA as it was the lack of 5th bowler which didn't allow us to win the test series last time we went there. But with the inexperienced side, we need to have Rahane in the team in place of Jadeja. Lets hope for the best in the next few weeks.

  • NAYANPALLY on December 3, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    Glad that Dhoni is taking the tests seriously.He is one who bowls in tests and in the middle of the series talks of discontinuing to play tests.The truncated series is a big victory for Dhoni since it is well known how he develops cold feet and it would damage his image.While Dhoni is the most successful captain India has had lets not forget he is the only Indian captain who has lost 4-0 in two successive series abroad.And in SA 2-0 looks much better than 3-0 and he can still continue to hold the position as the most successful captain!!!!!!

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    best eleven: Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli,Rohit,Ashwin,Dhoni,Jaddu Kumar,Zaheer,Shami.....Zaheer and Bhuvi will form a best Indian new ball pair in recent times......Smith is going to suffer with both of these bowlers who can move in both ways at will.... All d best for MSD n Team....

  • DD_f0rever on December 3, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Great minds think about Test Cricket - Real Cricket, so does Dhoni.

    All the Best Champ...We know you are #1 in ODIs. Now we have to prove ourselves in Tests outside Asia.

    With this newly formed Team Ind full of inexperienced youngsters, it is NOT easy to beat SA in SA. No matter what the result will be..we will always support you.

  • viru-319-219 on December 3, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    Indians really don't mind facing white ball let it be in INDIA or anywhere in the world. TEAM INDIA is always at its best in ODIs and the only thing they need to worry about is facing red ball. ODIs before tests are no preparation for test matches but it is better to have some cricket before going into 5 day matches. If INDIA wins the ODI series they will be confident of doing well in tests and if they lose it they will have some time for reality checks and to improve as much as possible for facing red cherry. Dhoni is not good in facing swinging ball and I dont expect him to succeed away from subcontinent except one or two good match saving innings but what I really like about him spending extra time in practice is the message he is giving to other gifted players in the team to work hard and try to go over your limits for success overseas. I am not a fan of Dhoni but I like his attitude .. wonderful player in limited overs and pretty average batsman in tests.

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    Good to see some serious application of mind and effort there. While SA is brilliant and is on top of Test pile, innovative thinking coupled with effective execution can upset them. That is the only route India has too, with its limited exposure to SA conditions and as usual inadequate preparation. Hmm since early 2012 to end 2013 and still paucity of time to prepare for the big Test...! 'Hats off to BCCI's scheduling 'genius' ;)

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    best of luck team india and ms.

  • on December 3, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    Off course lack of practice will be seen in the ODI series which i think India has a better chance to win, Its not easy to change ur game all of sudden & Indian batsmen will find it difficult on 5th dec, u need at least 2 -3 side games before any international series which these greedy boards will never understand.

  • on December 3, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    India would go with 4 quicks otherwise India will cost Test series before it starts

  • on December 3, 2013, 15:57 GMT

    India would go with 4 quicks otherwise India will cost Test series before it starts

  • on December 3, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    Off course lack of practice will be seen in the ODI series which i think India has a better chance to win, Its not easy to change ur game all of sudden & Indian batsmen will find it difficult on 5th dec, u need at least 2 -3 side games before any international series which these greedy boards will never understand.

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:00 GMT

    best of luck team india and ms.

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    Good to see some serious application of mind and effort there. While SA is brilliant and is on top of Test pile, innovative thinking coupled with effective execution can upset them. That is the only route India has too, with its limited exposure to SA conditions and as usual inadequate preparation. Hmm since early 2012 to end 2013 and still paucity of time to prepare for the big Test...! 'Hats off to BCCI's scheduling 'genius' ;)

  • viru-319-219 on December 3, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    Indians really don't mind facing white ball let it be in INDIA or anywhere in the world. TEAM INDIA is always at its best in ODIs and the only thing they need to worry about is facing red ball. ODIs before tests are no preparation for test matches but it is better to have some cricket before going into 5 day matches. If INDIA wins the ODI series they will be confident of doing well in tests and if they lose it they will have some time for reality checks and to improve as much as possible for facing red cherry. Dhoni is not good in facing swinging ball and I dont expect him to succeed away from subcontinent except one or two good match saving innings but what I really like about him spending extra time in practice is the message he is giving to other gifted players in the team to work hard and try to go over your limits for success overseas. I am not a fan of Dhoni but I like his attitude .. wonderful player in limited overs and pretty average batsman in tests.

  • DD_f0rever on December 3, 2013, 16:15 GMT

    Great minds think about Test Cricket - Real Cricket, so does Dhoni.

    All the Best Champ...We know you are #1 in ODIs. Now we have to prove ourselves in Tests outside Asia.

    With this newly formed Team Ind full of inexperienced youngsters, it is NOT easy to beat SA in SA. No matter what the result will be..we will always support you.

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:18 GMT

    best eleven: Dhawan, Vijay, Pujara, Kohli,Rohit,Ashwin,Dhoni,Jaddu Kumar,Zaheer,Shami.....Zaheer and Bhuvi will form a best Indian new ball pair in recent times......Smith is going to suffer with both of these bowlers who can move in both ways at will.... All d best for MSD n Team....

  • NAYANPALLY on December 3, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    Glad that Dhoni is taking the tests seriously.He is one who bowls in tests and in the middle of the series talks of discontinuing to play tests.The truncated series is a big victory for Dhoni since it is well known how he develops cold feet and it would damage his image.While Dhoni is the most successful captain India has had lets not forget he is the only Indian captain who has lost 4-0 in two successive series abroad.And in SA 2-0 looks much better than 3-0 and he can still continue to hold the position as the most successful captain!!!!!!

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:32 GMT

    Dhoni with experience of 78 test matches becomes the senior most batsman of the side along with additional responsibilities of wicketkeeping and captaining one of the most inexperienced sides. Gambhir's experience would have been crucial to handle an inexperienced batting order but all the teams have to start with transition someday and the change which our team has gone through in recent times with all the young batsmen performing and having a serious ability to play short pitched bowling is remarkable. However, I still have doubts over one opening slot and the no.6 slot. Vijay just doesn't convince me as a long term option and Gambhir should force his way into the side with bucketful of runs. I would love to have the luxury of playing 5 bowlers in SA as it was the lack of 5th bowler which didn't allow us to win the test series last time we went there. But with the inexperienced side, we need to have Rahane in the team in place of Jadeja. Lets hope for the best in the next few weeks.

  • on December 3, 2013, 16:46 GMT

    wish you all the best.best of luck dhoni