For the second time this year, India’s Captain Cool has made a pre-tour media conference in Mumbai memorable.
In May, before departing for the Champions Trophy in England, Mahendra Singh Dhoni zipped his lips when questioned about the Indian Premier League spot fixing controversy that led to the arrest of Chennai Super Kings Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan by the Mumbai police.
Yesterday, Dhoni mentioned out-of-favour Gautam Gambhir as his third opener. “If you see, Gautam is definitely our third opener that we are considering. As of now, Vijay and Shikhar they have done really well for us.
So the third opener as of now is Gautam,” Dhoni was quoted as saying at the media briefing by PTI, before clarifying, “I know (Gambhir not in the team) but he is the third opener. But he (journalist who asked about the squad’s third opener) never asked if he is part of the team.”
Some sources feel that Mumbai’s Ajinkya Rahane could be an opening option. Others reckon, Rahane will stick to his middle order duties. However, Dhoni can also use Cheteshwar Pujara as opener.
Dhoni expects his pace bowlers to hit the high notes. “There will be pace and bounce on offer for the fast bowlers. Along with yorkers, they can use bouncers and a little bit pace. So we will see how it goes,” he said.
Life without Sachin
For the first time in 21 years, an India Test team travels to South Africa without Sachin Tendulkar, who scored hundreds in each of the five tours save the 2006-07 series.
According to ESPN Cricinfo, Dhoni told reporters: “When paaji (Tendulkar) played his first Test match that was his first Test match. What’s fairly important is that they (batsmen) have a good amount of exposure even though it’s ODIs outside India.
That always helps you adjust to the pace and bounce of the wicket. It will be a new challenge for all of them, at the same time it is a learning curve. It’s the first time that they will be going there, and they will learn a lot in the series,” said Dhoni, whose first Test in South Africa ended in victory – in 2006.