Frenzy around Sachin Tendulkar’s 199th Test was expected, we were prepared: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Kolkata: The Master Blaster himself is reportedly unhappy with all the hype and hoopla around his 199th Test match at the Eden Gardens. On Tuesday, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni admitted that Team India was trying to focus on the cricket despite the frenzy around Sachin Tendulkar‘s final Test match in Kolkata. India lock horns with the West Indies in the first of the two-Test series from Wednesday. (Full schedule)
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Dhoni said: “We are trying to keep distractions to minimum and focus on cricket despite all the hype around Sachin’s retirement. This was expected. We were mentally prepared. The team will just focus on the game when the match starts.”
On the master blaster’s retirement, Dhoni said Tendulkar will be missed both in the dressing room and on the field. “He has been one who constantly kept a tab on youngsters and always gave suggestions. We will miss all this,” said Dhoni.
The Indian trained early on Tuesday morning. The players arrived almost 90 minutes ahead of the scheduled 10 am start probably to keep the media off track. “The focus has been brilliant. We are not thinking anything about the retirement. It is absolutely normal. In a way, the guys have maintained the normalcy,” Dhoni said.
It’s been a hectic week for Team India. On November 2, India beat Australia in a thrilling high-scoring match in Bangalore to win the seven-match ODI series 3-2. Now, it’s time for Test cricket. Dhoni said: “Format is a big change. In Tests, the ball doesn’t come onto the bat as much as it does in ODIS. There is a big change, but it has been addressed.”
Eden Gardens has traditionally been a slow turner but it will assist the batsmen in the first three days for sure. Dhoni made no predictions and said: “Will have to see the wicket again. Will have to wait and watch.” Kolkata will surely want to see Tendulkar going out on a high. The 40-year-old batting star has two Test hundreds at Eden. (Also read: Rohit Sharma shooed away from Eden pitch)
Dhoni is banking on his bowlers for a good start to the series. In the recent ODIs, the bowlers leaked runs but the new rules in limited overs have been cruel. Dhoni is depending on Bhuvneshwar Kumar. “Bhuvi has given us good starts with new ball. It’s important that he gets one or two wickets with the new ball. Preparation time being less is very demanding. Hopefully the guys are prepared.”
Dhoni is banking on his bowlers for a good start to the series. In the recent ODIs, the bowlers leaked runs but the new rules in limited overs have been cruel. Dhoni is banking on Bhuvneshwar Kumar. “Bhuvi has given us good starts with new ball. It’s important that he gets one or two wickets with the new ball. Preparation time being less is very demanding. Hopefully the guys are prepared.”
The Indian skipper said Ravindra Jadeja will be missed. The Saurashtra all-rounder is recovering from injury and has been advised rest for two weeks. “Balance of test team is a bit of concern. We need a good seamer who can bat. Now that we don’t have Jadeja we are thinking about the combination. It is (always) good to have a plan,” said Dhoni.