Pacers will have to adjust to bouncy Barbados track: Dhoni

Fit Munaf Patel is likely to replace Amit Mishra for the second Test between India and West Indies at Barbados Getty Images

By Ashish Shukla

Bridgetown (Barbados): Jun 27, 2011

Indian bowlers will have to adjust their line and length on a bouncy Kensington Oval pitch, said skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, insisting that adapting to conditions would be the key to winning the second cricket Test against West Indies here.

Leading 1-0 in the three-match series after clinching the opener by 63 runs, Dhoni said, “It’s important that pacers adapt themselves on a wicket with more bounce, they need to bowl fuller to get bowled and lbw dismissals.”

“Length will be the absolute key,” he added.

Having identified the pitch as one with extra zip, Dhoni also said he would prefer to go with a 3-1 bowling option in the Test.

It implies that leg-spinner Amit Mishra will make way for Munaf Patel, who seems to have recovered from his elbow injury as he bowled at full tilt in the nets.

Ishant Sharma and Praveen Kumar will be two other medium pacers while Harbhajan Singh will be the lone spinner.

Dhoni had little doubt that Ishant and Praveen will work up a good combination and pose threat to the host batsmen.

“Ishant has played a lot of Test matches and knows what to do to different batsmen. He is one of our main bowlers and forms an ideal combination with Praveen Kumar.

“They are different also for Praveen swings the ball while Ishant is a back-of-length bowler.”

Dhoni also praised Harbhajan who is just four wickets away from completing the 400-wicket haul.

“He is close to another landmark — 100 Test matches for India. He leads the spinners pack and has also done very well in batting. He is a good, aggressive character to have and when you need a breakthrough, you always find Bhajji there eager to provide one for the team,” said Dhoni.

Dhoni believed the runs will come in spurts in this Test match because a captain tends to set aggressive fields on a bouncy pitch.

“Sometimes, before you realise, there is a hell lot of a score in half a session. Average run-rate is slightly up on a wicket such as this one. It puts pressure on the bowlers and fielders to keep up the good work all the time.”

Dhoni said most of the times his players have responded well to pressure.

“I am fortunate to have such a good side. Irrespective of which format you are playing, you need 15 characters who respond to your strategy; know how to adapt themselves for captain.

“I am very fortunate that players have always given their 100 per cent to me. You can’t really win all the games. All you can do is to prepare well and do well on the field.”

Dhoni said every player’s individuality is encouraged within the set-up.

“Every character is different in his own way. We respect them to be themselves. You can change yourself for a fraction of a time but on a longer basis you can’t do it,” Dhoni said.

“We need to accept each in the way they are. And they have been superb with their timing, the way they handle responsibility,” he added.

In the present bunch, there are at least four cricketers who are young and standing in for seniors but Dhoni believed they shouldn’t be desperate in the knowledge that they have limited time with the team.

“It is important they are not desperate to score runs. If you are desperate, you put more pressure on yourself.

“What you need to do is to relax, prepare well and enjoy the game. Even when seniors are back, these youngsters would still have gained a lot about what international cricket is, how good players score runs and the areas where they need to improve.”

Dhoni said it is not his style to call youngsters all the time and offer them advice.

“I do informal chats. I don’t believe in calling someone for big chats can put pressure,” he said.