Expect Mahendra Singh Dhoni to put a positive spin on everything. Even for that matter when it’s the final Test match of Sourav Ganguly, or VVS Laxman’s 100th Test.
While the Australians hope all the milestones as well as the omission of Gautam Gambhir adds up as distractions for India, Dhoni termed them as positives as India go into the final Test with a chance to topple the Australians at the top.
Sourav Ganguly would bow out of international cricket after the Nagpur Test, immediately after Anil Kumble announced his retirement after the third Test in Delhi last week. VVS Laxman, on the other hand, is set to play his 100th Test match, coming into the game without being dismissed in either innings of the drawn third Test where he scored 200 not out in the first innings and an unbeaten 59 in the second.
“I think these are a lot of positives going into this game. VVS Laxman’s 100th Test match means he has played 99 Test matches for India, which lends essential experience to the side. It’s Sourav Ganguly’s last Test match, which also means he has played loads of cricket.”
However, India’s bigger concern is the absence of opener Gautam Gambhir, who has been in sensational form in this series. The ICC decided to stick to the one-Test match ban slapped on the batsman after he elbowed Shane Watson in Delhi.
With a 1-0 lead going into the fourth and final Test here, India are bracing up for what perhaps is their biggest Test in a number of years. “The reason why this is such an important game is because we have played so well to be in this position, and we just need to do the same things that we have been doing all through this series. So there is no added pressure on us and we hope that we can contribute to the team to our full potential.”
Dhoni, who has led India in two Tests in the absence of Kumble, now takes over full-time but he insists that it doesn’t make a difference.
The skipper also highlighted the role of reverse swing in the series so far, and its possible implication on the series decider. “Reverse swing would be crucial because it looks like a typical Indian wicket. There is a good chance of reverse swing and spin will also come to play as the game goes on,” he said.
“Over the course of this series, the new ball hasn’t done too much. Thus it’s important for the fast bowlers to maintain the ball to utilise the reverse swing. It has no doubt been one of the differences in the series because we have maintained the ball well,” the skipper added.