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Dhoni backs new-look attack

2011-11-05 12:21

New Delhi - India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is confident his inexperienced bowling attack will deliver in the three-Test series against the West Indies which starts on Sunday.

"We have some good bowlers and it's not difficult for me to use them because they've played one-dayers and the Indian Premier League," Dhoni said on Saturday. "They have a fair amount of exposure and will not really get too excited."

Only two of India's bowlers in the squad for the first Test - pace bowler Ishant Sharma and left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha - have played Test cricket before.

Pace bowlers Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron have experienced limited overs games. Ravichandran Ashwin is India's main spinner in one-dayers but has yet to figure in a Test, while Rahul Sharma has never played in any form for India before.

Sharma has played 38 Tests and Ojha only 11 but Dhoni felt both could guide other bowlers.

"We are expecting at least two debuts ... The senior players are always there to help them," said Dhoni, who recently helped India beat England 5-0 in a one-day home series.

Yadav and Ashwin are expected to make their Test debuts.

India are without experienced bowlers Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh. Khan is injured while Singh has been dropped after some unimpressive performances.

Dhoni said the team would not be distracted by an impending milestone for Sachin Tendulkar, who is just one more hundred away from becoming the first batsman to complete a century of international centuries.

"Sachin will achieve the milestone in this game or some other game. Let him get the ton and we'll talk about it," Dhoni said. "Right now we are concentrating on how to prepare for this series. Of course when he gets it, we will celebrate with him."

Dhoni, whose side was defeated 4-0 in England in their last Test series, said the West Indies could not be discounted as they had just beaten Bangladesh 1-0 in a two-Test series.

"They have some good fast bowlers and Devendra Bishoo is a good leg-spinner. They also know the conditions well because they are coming from Bangladesh. I am expecting a good series," Dhoni said.

West Indian skipper Darren Sammy said his players had to be bold.

"This is the biggest Test for us and for me as captain as well," Sammy said. "It is a prestigious series as many good players are involved in the series and we have to play fearless cricket."

Sammy said his bowling attack could spring a surprise on the Indians.

"Our bowling attack has bowled out teams twice in Test cricket in the recent past, so I am hoping it does well against India," said Sammy, who marked out Bishoo as the player to watch out for after returning a five-for against Bangladesh at Mirpur.

"We played well against India in the Caribbean. We batted better and could have come out on top so we fancy our chances," Sammy added.

India beat the West Indies 1-0 in a three-Test series during a tour in May-June this year.

AP