Dhoni hopes for Laxman`s recovery before 2nd Test
Bangalore: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday said injured batsman VVS Laxman is recovering fast from the back spasm and a call to include him in the playing eleven would be taken tomorrow before the start of the second Test here.
"Laxman is much better right now and we will talk a call (on him) tomorrow morning, depending on how he shapes before the game", Dhoni said at the pre-match press conference.
"Laxman did not practice today. It is difficult to say there is a 50-50 chance for Laxman to play tomorrow. He has recovered really well and we love to see him play but at the same time we need to remember that it is a longer format and it is really tough if you are injured in Test matches," the Indian skipper said.
Dhoni also expects an Australian comeback to draw Gavaskar-Border series 1-1, but said the team is ready to counter any such reply.
"They will come up strongly. That is their culture. They do not give up so easily. They will try their best shot here from tomorrow. We have prepared for that and will equally respond to the task."
On injured Ishant Sharma, who played a pivotal role in winning the first Test in Mohali, the skipper said, "he is bowling well in the nets right now and there is no niggle as far as his fitness is concerned."
Dhoni said if Ishant does not get match-fit tomorrow then Pacer S Sreesanth could be given a chance to support Zaheer Khan. "We will take a call tomorrow on fielding the best combination. It is good to have a right arm seamer to support a left arm seamer from the other end," he said.
On the fitness problems of Laxman and other team-members, Dhoni explained that players tried to make a full use of the three-day rest in between the matches.
"Of course, we recovered after the travelling day, and yesterday we had a long practice session and today slightly lighter practice session especially for the bowlers.”
"It is pretty much the same and it happens every time. It is more important to rest more than practice during the rest days between test matches."
He also said that as of now everyone is available for selection, apart from Laxman. "But to my knowledge none of the players have anything regarding injuries."
Despite winning the Mohali Test, Dhoni said there are still some grey areas that need to be addressed.
"We need to improve quite a few areas since we cannot give to many runs with the new ball. Once, you got close to the opposition target, you should not lose wickets but get as much lead as possible. When the rivals bat, we need to try and stop the singles too to stop them from rotating strike easily," he said.
Talking about the pitch, the captain said, "Wicket is damp right now. I do not want to predict anything. There is no grass cover on the wicket. We will perhaps in the evening or tomorrow morning know exactly as to what condition the pitch is and how dry it is."
On dropped catches and misfielding, which were a headache for the team in the first Test, Dhoni insisted that during practice session the team tried to sort out these issues.
"If you drop catches, it is okay because you tried your best at the practice sessions. We always try to get close to match condition as much as possible. When you win a game not much is talked about as to what went wrong in that game.”
"But as a team we have realised that even when you win a game that there are quite a few areas that we need to improve. We are aware of that and we are putting great efforts to rectify the problems. It is better that such things does not happen frequently," he said.
On his decision to keep the wickets from a bit more distance in Mohali, the wicket-keeper batsman said, "you have to see what is really happening. From outside it is difficult to judge."
"If you stand close, you oddly have time to realise and you are not able to move your feet because you go with your hands. (But) as the game progress, like in the last Test match, the average bounce that a fast bowler got was, it was coming on to the wicketkeeper well. Since, the ball was skidding on initially in the last day of the game so I was
standing slightly away from the stumps," Dhoni explained.
The captain tried to downplay the face-off between Australian captain Ricky Ponting and Zaheer Khan in Mohali Test, saying, "We always try to play cricket in the best possible manner but in the heat of the moment when a bowler or a batsman is putting a lot of effort you tend to respond to the opposition players wordings."
"We try not to get it too personal. A bit of chit-chat is fine but it should not be too personal. In the last Test everything went quite well except that one incident and we are hoping that we close this series without any further controversy," the skipper said.
Meanwhile, Dhoni insisted that Test cricket is still alive and kicking.
"All the team captains are trying to make Test cricket much more interesting. Most of the matches now a days deliver results that is good. The more exciting test cricket gets is better for its survival.”
"Especially, in the sub-continent the teams are able to perform better in the second innings if they play badly in the first. It will be interesting and few series that are supposed to come before the World Cup would also be like that," he added.