Chennai: Looking refreshed after a welcome break, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni was at pains Monday to drive home the point that an injury-free Indian team is ready for the forthcoming Test series in Australia. Dhoni also specified that the team will try to stay away from controversy unlike the last tour in 2007-08.
Unlike the tour of England this summer, the Indian team would benefit greatly by not only sending a set of key players in advance to Australia but also a couple of practice games ahead of the first Test beginning Dec 26 in Melbourne, Dhoni pointed out.
"I needed the break and I am happy that I got it. I am looking forward to the Australian tour. We have enough time for some preparation also before the start of the first Test match. Hopefully, we do not have any injuries before the start of the Test series," he said at a pre-tour media conference here.
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Quite typically, Dhoni declined to take too much cognizance of Australia's defeat to New Zealand in the Hobart Test, but rather focus on his team and its preparations.
"We have to play to the kind of talent that we have got and do not worry about such things (Australia's loss to New Zealand). We need to work on our strengths and weakness. We are more concerned about where we need to work on and not worry about what kind of opposition we are playing," Dhoni asserted.
The captain expressed confidence in his bowlers while rejecting the theory that bowling is one of India's major weaknesses.
"Our bowlers are talented. Of course, when you do not have your main bowlers, you need a bit of time. Once the youngsters play more and more games, they get experienced at the top levels. I think talent-wise we are there. We have a good exposure for the youngsters who are part of the side now touring Australia," he said.
While conceding that there is always scope for improvement in all departments of the game, Dhoni opined that it was part of the process and even the experienced players always looked to improve.
"We would like to improve in all the three departments. Catching will be very crucial. Last series that we played in India, we did not have so many catching fielders. We need to have a bit more of them.
"They say catches win matches. It is true so that will be one of the areas where we have to work on. On big grounds, running between wickets is also necessary. All these small things help you put pressure on the opposition," the skipper said.
On a query regarding the England tour that saw the Indian team hit by a lot of injuries, Dhoni said it was different this time around.
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"If you see the injury list, it is quite blank as of now. More often than not, the 15 or 16 who are in the team will be ready for selection to play. That takes a bit of pressure off and you need not worry about the playing eleven that much as most players get their berths on merit.
"Apart from that, the batting line-up is quite the same. Bowling-wise we have got Umesh Yadav, who can bowl at over 140 kmph. I think it looks like a good pack. We need to do well on the field rather than looking at it as to how we look on paper," Dhoni said.
Fielding a question on possible "fireworks" like the one on the 2008 tour involving Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds, both of whom will be missing this time around, Dhoni felt that the likes of Virender Sehwag would provide all the "fireworks" on the field.
"We will try to keep the fireworks off. Someone like Virender Sehwag will provide fireworks on the field. Not on the verbal side but with the bat. And if the bowlers do well, then the ball will do the talking. Hopefully, we will keep the controversy away," said Dhoni.