India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today admitted that the experience of Harbhajan Singh would be sorely missed by his side in the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka but said it provides an opportunity to young spinners to prove their mettle in spin-friendly tracks in the island.
"Harbhajan has been our pick of the spinners for some time. Whether you are bowling first or second or bowling in powerplays, he is the person. We will miss him as pitches in Colombo give assistance to spinners," Dhoni said at a joint press conference with home team skipper Mahela Jayawardene after reaching the island nation.
"Harbhajan is recovering from injury. So we have two spinners in the side, Pragyan Ojha and Ravindra Jadeja. I think they will try to fill in the space left by Harbhajan's absence. Of course we have part-timers also who have done well. It is an opportunity for both the spinners to prove themselves," Dhoni added.
India have been in great form in one-dayers recently having beaten England 5-0 but Dhoni said that would not count much and they would have to start from scratch against the Lankans.
"Frankly speaking, you know most of the international sides now. You know each and every player of their team. We have played against them (Lankans) quite frequently. But it is not how often you have played against a team or a player. You have to start from the scratch.
"It will be a tough series. It is tough to beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka though we had defeated them the last time around."