By Philem Dipak Singh
New Delhi: Nov 5, 2011
As anticipation builds up for Sachin Tendulkar's 100th international ton, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the team is hoping that the veteran cricketer achieves the milestone in the very first Test of the three-match series against the West Indies starting on Sunday.
"It is (Sachin's 100th ton) bound to happen. Hopefully, he gets it here and then we will celebrate and go ahead," Dhoni said at the pre-match press conference.
"What we are thinking as a team is that we want to do well in the series and how we do it. It's important to start the series well. We will let him (Tendulkar) get his hundred. When that happens we will celebrate and then go ahead," he said.
Dhoni revealed that two players will make their debut in the match but he did not divulge who they could be. It is most likely to be two bowlers -- a pacer and a spinner.
"Two debutants can be in the playing XI tomorrow, let's see. All the players are fit and all of them are available for selection. There was no injury in the practice session also," he said.
Asked if spinner Rahul Sharma could be included in the playing XI, Dhoni said, "He has done well but we are not concentrating on a single player either in our team as well as in our opponents."
India are full strength in the batting department with the likes of Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh returning to the side but Dhoni said the team cannot take the West Indies lightly.
"West Indies are a very good side, we can't take them lightly. We will play our best. They have come here after doing well in Bangladesh. Overall it will be a good series," he said.
Asked about leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, who has been doing well for the West Indies recently, Dhoni said, "We are not focussing on a single bowler. Bishoo is a good bowler and he is doing well and as a leg-spinner, he will be quite a handful here. But they have other bowlers also, they have good fast bowlers."
The Indian captain said there was no reason that the team should look back at the England series debacle and said that injury to key players had played a major role in it.
"There is no reason that we should look back at the England series. Why should we think of something that had happened some three and a half months back? Injuries had played a big part there and we can't do anything about it as it is a part and parcel of the game," said Dhoni.
"We are not thinking about the England series and we are concentrating on the West Indies series," he added.
Dhoni said the Ferozeshah Kotla pitch which has been criticised in the past for its low and variable bounce would be a better strip.
"The pitch looks good. It does not look like it will turn from the first day. But as the match progresses it will turn. I am looking at my spinners getting the turn from the third day onwards. More than this I don't know how it will behave," he said.
"I am hoping that the bounce would be better and it would be a better wicket than before," he said.
Asked how different the team feels as it is starting the series not as world number one, Dhoni said, "We want to be world number one but it is not that it is something you get it and hold onto it without doing well.
"We did not do well in England and that is why we lost it," he said.
"But it is a process and we have to start it again and get to there," he added.
Dhoni paid tribute to former Indian captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who recently died after illness, describing him a great cricketer who has served the country well.
"I am not a person who knows a lot about history but from what I know he is great cricketer, an aggressive cricketer on the field. He has done a lot for Indian cricket." (PTI)