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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Cricket

Spinners' form will be crucial to India's fortunes at Lord's
Sourav Ganguly
July 16, 2014
First Published: 23:44 IST(16/7/2014)
Last Updated: 12:06 IST(31/7/2014)

Lord's is a venue where touring teams look forward to play. For most of the India players, it's a first time and it will be important not to get overawed by the history and grandeur of the place.

To me, this is the most important Test of the series and whichever team can win will go ahead a fair way in the series. So, it's important for the Indians to calm their nerves before they walk out on the first day. The only way to do this is to use the practice time before the Test well. Spend a few hours at the ground, get to the dressing room, soak in the ground conditions, the Long Room and just like everything in life, one will get used to it.

The pitch will again be the point of discussion before the toss. There was talk about how the Trent Bridge pitch was lifeless, thank god they don't come to India very often, but they must understand that at times Test matches have to be played and results created on such surfaces as well. All the discussion for the last two days have been on the 22 yards at Lord's and with the sun beating down for the last three days in London, it will be hard for the curator to keep moisture on the surface. As a cricket fan, one would want to see a fair contest between bat and ball.

Both teams will have selection issues and will hold on to their teams till the morning, although certain players will be kept in the loop about their possible chance of playing. England have roped in a spinner in Simon Kerrigan from Lancashire and I hope they don't hold him back for too long. Every good team has good spinners, the word in English county cricket is that there aren't many around at the moment, but they must realise that they will at times have to throw a young cricketer at the deep end and find out how good he is. Young Harbhajan Singh was picked from the under-19 team and at times such gambles will have to be taken.

India will have a few decisions to make. They have been let down in the past because the spinners haven't picked wickets overseas and MS Dhoni will have to take a decision between R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.

Jadeja should have picked wickets in Nottingham and although Dhoni defended him in the press conference, he will realise that the form of his spinners will be crucial in this five-Test series. He will also have to keep a close watch on the surface.

The reason I say this is because I feel if it's a dry pitch like Trent Bridge, India can also play two spinners, something which brings them success on slow, dead tracks around the world.

I will be keen to watch what changes Dhoni makes and I will not be surprised if he doesn't make any.

The writer is a former India captain


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