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India may be forced to field an injured Dhoni

With a spate of injuries hampering India's preparations ahead of the Bangalore Test, India may be forced to field a half-fit Dhoni in the match.

cricket Updated: Dec 07, 2007 15:37 IST

India may be forced to field an injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni if Sachin Tendulkar is ruled out of the third and final cricket Test against Pakistan who have also been hit by injuries to some of their key players.

The Indian camp was keen to rest Dhoni, still recovering from a finger injury, but captain Anil Kumble today indicated that the wicket-keeper batsman could be drafted in the playing eleven after Tendulkar aggravated his knee problem.

"It's not that Dhoni cannot play. He has been playing on strapping. We have a long season ahead and there is no break. We wanted to rest him but because of Sachin's injury, we will have to rethink. It depends on Sachin's fitness," Kumble said in the pre-match press conference.

"Gautam Gambhir is coming as back up for Sachin," Kumble added.

The 37-year-old captain admitted that India would go into the third Test with "an inexperienced pace attack" but said it would give youngsters a chance to excel.

"Yes, it's inexperienced pace attack. But it's a nice opportunity for them to excel," he said.

"Irfan (Pathan) has had success in Test cricket while the other two boys have played Test cricket. It's a chance for them to seal their place," he said referring to VRV Singh and Ishant Sharma.

Despite being plagued by injuries, Kumble said there would be no let-up in the intensity and his players were focused for a 2-0 series win.

Kumble, who will be leading the national team for the first time on his home ground, said it would be an emotional moment for him but he would not get carried away by it.

"It will be a special moment. This is where I grew up spending most of the time in the last 20-25 years. It will be emotional no doubt. But we must keep focus to win the series 2-0," he said.

Kumble said although he had not seen the pitch which was freshly laid for the match but added that it looked good yesterday.

"I have not seen much of the pitch which is more or less under covers because of the overcast conditions and light drizzle. What I saw yesterday it appears to be a good pitch.