Wright banking on part-time bowlers
India would go into the first cricket Test against New Zealand with four regular bowlers as coach John Wright was banking on the bowling skills of part-timers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly to make up for the fifth bowler's slot.
Wright said he was confident of the capabilities of the likes of Ganguly and Tendulkar who could "win a match with the ball too."
"Sachin can be a match-winner with the ball. He had fantastic spells in both Challenger as well as Irani Cup recently," Wright told reporters ahead of the first Test starting here on Wednesday.
"This would be the best opportunity for players like Ganguly, who has improved his pace, and Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar to be used as bowlers as only four frontline bowlers would be playing in the first Test," Wright said.
He said the two spinners - Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh -- would be playing while inclusion of a third spinner in Sairaj Bahutule was also not ruled out.
However, the final playing XI would only be finalised tomorrow night, the coach said.
On the new opening combination he said Sehwag had already proved himself and got runs as an opener while Akash Chopra too was in fine form being among runs in the three-day matches.
The former Kiwi batsman said though it was "pretty hot", these conditions would not be a problem as "we are used to this kind of weather".
The coach said the Indian think-tank had not insisted on preparation of any particular kind of wicket for the first Test.
"We have not given any such instruction... Generally, the wicket at Motera has been very good and it has produced some tremendous Test matches in the past and we expect a sporting wicket this time as well."
When asked to comment on New Zealand coach Ashley Ross' statement that his team had plans for every Indian player, Wright said "everty team has plans, we have ours and they have theirs but the most important thing is that it should work on the field, which is not always easy.
"The execution of plans to perfection during matches is the toughest part," Wright said while stressing the team was not to bothered by what the opposition might be planning.
"We know New Zealand is a competitive side and we know they have been doing very well in the past 18 months but we are prepared to face them... I am sure it's going to be an interesting series."
Pacemen Laxmipathy Balaji and Avishkar Salvi, who were in Sri Lanka for a three-nation tournament, have joined the team and took part in the practice session today. Both were spotted bowling to captain Ganguly in the nets.
The two umpires — David Shepherd of England and Rudy Koerzen of South Africa were also in the thick of things at the Indian nets.
Shepherd was seen taking Tendulkar's autograph on a cricket bat.