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Yuvraj has matured wonderfully

It's an important Test starting in Mohali on Thursday. It's a series decider and it's after a long time in a home series that matters have boiled down to the last Test. Obviously, there was a lot of attention on the wicket but this one looks a bit different from the last one in Motera. Although it has a sprinkle of grass on it, the surface is dry and there are a lot of cracks.

india Updated: Oct 15, 2003 23:54 IST

It's an important Test starting in Mohali on Thursday. It's a series decider and it's after a long time in a home series that matters have boiled down to the last Test. Obviously, there was a lot of attention on the wicket but this one looks a bit different from the last one in Motera.

Although it has a sprinkle of grass on it, the surface is dry and there are a lot of cracks. There has not been much water put on it for the last two days and by the look of it, it is going to turn much more than it did in Motera.

We did win against England here last year but that was a much greener and harder wicket. Rahul Dravid will lead the side in my absence and it will definitely be an important Test in which he will lead the country for the first time.

I have not recovered from my abcess operation and it will be disappointing to miss this, the first Test I am missing out on as captain, especially when I have been hitting the ball well and the wicket looks to be a lot better.

Yuvraj Singh will obviously make his debut and it will be a great opportunity for him to prove how good a player he is.

He has matured wonderfully over the last year-and-a-half as a one-day player, won a number of games for India with the bat and I feel he is in the right frame of mind to make a debut in the longer version of the game. I wish him luck and pray for his success.

Coming back to the match, it will be a good toss to win as the wicket will help the spinners as the Test goes on. The key men for New Zealand in this game will be Nathan Astle and Craig McMillan. They looked the best players of spin in Ahmedabad and we will have to work out a strategy to get them out.

There will obviously be a selection dilemma for the Kiwis between Wiseman and Butler and the bit of grass on the wicket might influence Fleming to pick another seamer but that can turn out to be a wrong decision.

The ground looks in fantastic condition and looks set for a good five days of Test cricket. And it will be disheartening for me to watch it from the dressing room.

First Published: Oct 15, 2003 23:50 IST