Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Tuesday he is unconcerned by India’s losing record at the Gabba and backed his team to do well on fast wickets in the second Test against Australia.
Wicketkeeper Dhoni, who will return from injury to lead the tourists in on Wednesday’s Brisbane Test after recovering from a fractured thumb, said the likely lively pitch held no fears.
The Australians have proved formidable in Brisbane where the pace and bounce troubles touring sides, none more so than India who have not won in five attempts.
“Yes, if you talk about stats, it is right (India haven’t won in five Tests) but on the fastest wickets India have won Test matches there, whether it’s Johannesburg, Durban or Perth,” said Dhoni, who has never played a Test in Brisbane.
“It is a new challenge for the young fellows and they will learn a lot and hopefully stand up and perform.”
Australia’s last Gabba Test loss was against the Viv Richards-led West Indies by nine wickets in 1988.
But as Dhoni points out India have not faced Australia in Brisbane since 2003 when a Sourav Ganguly century gave the tourists a first innings lead only to draw.
“More often that not I prefer wickets that are slightly on the greener side,” he said.
“The reason being that our bowlers become much more effective and the batsmen will have to formulate a way to get runs on that kind of wicket. More often that we have done well on wickets that have helped the fast bowlers because it makes our job slightly easier to get the opposition batsmen out.”
“That’s where we have struggled in the last two or three series, we have been in positions to win Test matches but we have not been able to capitalise on that. Dhoni would not divulge India’s likely team, but did highlight Ravichandran Ashwin’s selection claims after the 21-Test off-spinner was left out of the series opener in Adelaide. Ashwin is definitely someone who can bat lower down the order,” Dhoni said.
Dhoni’s return has ramped up debate about his success rate as skipper in Tests outside of India.
He has won just six out of 28 outside his homeland and if he loses the three remaining Tests in Australia Dhoni will become the most defeated captain away from home in the history of the game.
Stand-in skipper Virat Kohli earned praise for his leadership in Adelaide where he scored back-to-back centuries and led a bold India run-chase before the tourists went down all guns blazing by 48 runs last Saturday.
“He has been fantastic, not only as a batsman, but also a leader,” Dhoni said of Kohli.
“He is an aggressive character, he’s slightly different to what I am, but you don’t want all the the individuals to captain the same way because then you miss the character of the individual.”