Melbourne, Dec 24 : Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said injury-prone pacers Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma are expected to be fit for the first Test against Australia and precautions have been taken to ensure that they don't break down in the middle of the series.
“We've missed Zaheer quite a few times in the past. We did give them (Zaheer and Ishant) some time off, they bowled in the practice game as well as in the practice session.
They are shaping up well. There are two more days and we know a lot can happen in two days. Hopefully, they would all be available for selection,” Dhoni said at the pre-match press conference here today.
“We've tried to take as much precaution as we could (regarding Zaheer and Ishant). We've tried our best whatever we could do.
Players have also played their part, they worked outside the field also, in the gym and the rehab sessions they needed to do. They have put in a lot of effort in practice. Hopefully, they wouldn't have any injury.
“Everyone's fit for the game. All players are looking fit which you need for the format of the game. We don't need to be worried (on fitness count),” he added.
Dhoni said the fireworks would only be limited to on-field action, promising that his side would ensure a controversy-free series without compromising on the intensity.
“Individuals do make mistakes. But as a professional cricketer, you don't want it. There is a lot at stake, people look up to you, so you want it controversy-free.
Still, it's important you make it interesting,” said Dhoni referring to the 2008 series when ugly exchanges between the two sides almost led to the tour being abandoned midway.
All hell had broken loose during the second Test at Sydney when India was at the receiving end of a few controversial decisions, capped by the “Monkeygate scandal” which dragged a few players of the two teams into the chambers of a court.
Dhoni also hoped the tour would be different in respect that India has never prepared as well as they have for the present tour.
“We've taken care of the preparation—if 12-14 days are not enough then even one month wouldn't be enough. We've worked and looked at preparation from all angles so that once we are on the field, we can play by instinct and not worry about other factors.
“Our batters have toured here in the past. They know these conditions well. The first practice wicket (in Canberra) was very different, a bit on the slower side. But this one in the nets here has a bit more bounce which is useful,” he said.
Dhoni is conscious of the fact that everyone expects his team to win the present Test series but he doesn't want to lose sight of the immediate task.
“How we start in the first Test is important. We want to be in the moment. Break the match into sessions, try to win more sessions than the opposition team. If we win enough sessions, we will win the Test. Our emphasis would be on small things, not where we want to be at the end of the fourth Test.
“There's no point in taking that extra pressure. It will not help us. We need to keep it simple.”Dhoni then went on to speak about a few individuals of the side, including Sachin Tendulkar, who everyone expects to get his 100th international century at the MCG.
“He (Sachin) keeps it simple. He would get it, sometime in this or the next Test, this or the next series. It is on the way. It isn't something he wouldn't achieve. But if he gets it soon, everyone would feel relieved.