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India Will Not Underestimate West Indies, Says Dhoni

Kingston, Jun 20 : Mahendra Singh Dhoni insists his India side will not take the West Indies for granted when the three-test series begins here on Monday.India is the No. 1 team in the world

PTI [ Updated: June 20, 2011 14:28 IST ]
india will not underestimate west indies says dhoni
india will not underestimate west indies says dhoni

Kingston, Jun 20 : Mahendra Singh Dhoni insists his India side will not take the West Indies for granted when the three-test series begins here on Monday.


India is the No. 1 team in the world and the host is seventh in the nine-team table.

But Dhoni warned of the threat the West Indies' attack could pose in the first test on a Sabina Park pitch that is likely to have pace and bounce, as seen in the fifth one-day international last Thursday, which the home side won.

"West Indies have a good bowling attack," he said. "They have bowlers who can bowl fast and if they can bowl at the right areas, they can cause problems to the batsmen."

The West Indies can call on Kemar Roach and Ravi Rampaul, who were impressive in the previous two-test series against Pakistan in May.

The host also included fast bowler Fidel Edwards, who is eager to return to international cricket after undergoing back surgery and lengthy rehabilitation last year. He has not played an international in more than two years.

Edwards, 29, made his test debut at Sabina Park eight years ago as an unheralded player who had impressed the then captain, Brian Lara, in the nets during the previous match.

He burst onto the test scene with first-innings figures of 5-36 on debut as the West Indies defeated Sri Lanka.

"Sabina is my second home, the home away from home, every game that's played here I always want to be playing," Edwards said.

But he realizes he has to be patient.

The Barbadian was in the squad for the two tests against Pakistan without forcing his way into the team, and also was not considered for the one-day series against India.

He said: "I have been ready for a while now, have waited for this moment. I now need to take it step by step. I have bowled long spells and have been injury-free."

Edwards is not guaranteed a spot unless the West Indies make a bold move and omit legspinner Devendra Bishoo or choose five bowlers in captain Darren Sammy, Roach, Rampaul, Edwards and Bishoo.

Edwards is sure this Indian side is better equipped than others to negotiate a barrage of bouncers.

"Over the years the short ball has given them some trouble," he said, "but over the last series I've been watching they seem to be playing it a lot better."

Dhoni said those sorts of challenges brought out the best in cricketers.

"That's what test cricket is all about," he said. "You have to negotiate good bowlers and balls, and as a batsman you need to push the bowlers to bowl into your zone.

"It will be a good competition for our batsmen. I think the wicket here will be different from the first three one-dayers, where the ball turned a lot."

Dhoni returns after being rested for the one-day series. The visitor also welcomes back veterans Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman.

But there is still a hole in the top order left by the absence of regular openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, both nursing injured shoulders, and the decision by Sachin Tendulkar to miss this series to be fresh for the bigger challenge of the tour of England in July.

Dhoni saw it as an opportunity for the less experienced players, such as Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund, who will be taking on the new ball, as well as Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina.

"This is an ideal opportunity for each and every individual, and that's how I want everyone to look at it," Dhoni said."What is important is to create an atmosphere where they love the challenge, because if there is no challenge you can't prove the mettle you have." AP

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