Chances of Harbhajan Singh playing the first cricket Test against Australia appear to be slim unless the Melbourne Cricket Ground wicket promises substantial turn for the spinners, according to Indian vice-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Just as Australia will make a call between playing spinner Brad Hogg and an all-pace attack in the Boxing Day Test, India will be careful to field a balanced bowling line-up.
The wicket-keeper batsman said both Anil Kumble and Harbhajan were bowling well and could trouble Australia.
But he conceded that India might be forced to select three fast bowlers and one spinner on Australian pitches, which would leave Harbhajan out in the cold.
"It depends on the conditions and how much the wickets will suit both the spinners at the same time, that's a crucial decision," Dhoni was quoted as saying by 'The Age' today.
"You have to play with three fast bowlers in most of the places in Australia so you have to decide. It depends on the conditions," Dhoni said, adding "if it's Australia, most of the time you would go with three and one."
"You never know, if there's a wicket that can favour the spinners and later on you can play with two and two and Sourav (Ganguly) can also bowl a bit (of medium pace)," he said.
Dhoni was firm on what he expected from the wickets on his first tour of Australia.
"Lots of bounce. If it's Australia, even if it's slow and low, it will be nothing compared to the fastest wicket in India."
Although he is yet to experience that sort of lift, Dhoni gave the impression it was unlikely to worry him or deter him from his brash strokeplay.
He also said he and his teammates weren't fearful of Shaun Tait, whose speed and unique slinging action could make him a tricky opponent, given India's limited view of him.
"It's the same as when you go and face (Sri Lanka's Lasith) Malinga or (Pakistan's) Shoaib (Akhtar), guys who have a very different action," Dhoni said.
"Of course Tait is an express quick bowler. We have seen the videos and all the different angles and the front-on videos," he said.
"But you have to perform on the field and you know how you adapt yourself quickly when he's bowling on to you, that's very important," he said.