News24

Dhoni sets sights on ailing Oz

2011-12-12 16:51

Chennai - India can beat Michael Clarke's struggling team and win their first Test series in Australia if they play to their potential, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni said Monday.

"The team is looking good and can beat Australia," Dhoni told reporters in Chennai ahead of the squad's departure for four Tests and a triangular one-day series also featuring Sri Lanka.

"I will focus on our strengths and weaknesses and hope for results on the field. We are more concerned about where we need to work on and not worry about what kind of opposition we are playing."

Dhoni's comments came on the day when Clarke's Australians lost the second Test by seven runs against New Zealand in Hobart, their first loss against the Kiwis at home in 26 years.

The defeat was also Australia's third in eight Tests under Clarke's captaincy.

India will be playing their first away Test series since losing all four matches in England in July-August that cost Dhoni's men their No 1 Test ranking.

Dhoni hoped the players will remain fit for the Australia series, unlike in England when key stars like Zaheer Khan, Virender Sehwag and Harbhajan Singh were sidelined.

Zaheer and Sehwag are back for the tour, while Harbhajan was axed due to poor form.

The first batch of players - Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman, Ishant Sharma, Pragyan Ojha, Umesh Yadav and Wriddhiman Saha - is already in Australia preparing for the tour.

The remaining players in the 17-man squad, including Dhoni, are due to leave early on Tuesday.

India open the three-month tour on December 15, with two practice matches in Canberra ahead of the first Test starting at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 26.

The remaining Tests will be played in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide.

The Tests will be followed by two Twenty20 internationals, before Sri Lanka join in for a one-day tri-series from February 5.

India's Test squad for Australia:

Mahendra Singh Dhoni (captain), Virender Sehwag (vice-captain), Gautam Gambhir, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Venkatsai Laxman, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Abhimanyu Mithun.

Coach: Duncan Fletcher.

AFP