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India skipper plays down importance of Cook’s wicket

Alastair Cook at the crease. Photo credit: Rui Vieira/PA wire Alastair Cook at the crease. Photo credit: Rui Vieira/PA wire

Thursday, November 22, 2012
3:09 PM

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is wary of concentrating solely on Alastair Cook’s wicket during the second Test at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium from tomorrow.

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England are already 1-0 down in the four-Test series after last week’s nine-wicket defeat in Ahmedabad and only the Essex batsman - in his first Test as permanent skipper - prevented India marching to victory much more quickly.

“He is someone who plays spin really well,” Dhoni said of his opposite number.

“The way Cook bats, he treats each ball according to its merit. He doesn’t use his feet very often, but loves to go on the front foot very close to the pitch of the ball.

“I think he’s someone who gives himself a bit more time, and doesn’t get rattled by the turn or the bounce.

“It is a valuable wicket. But I won’t say it’s the most important, because through their whole line-up they’ve got players who can really score a lot of runs at a good pace.”

India are set to make one enforced change from their winning team, with pace bowler Umesh Yadav a likely absentee because of a sore back.

And the captain dampened down expectations that master batsman Sachin Tendulkar may be about to play Test cricket on his home ground for the final time.

He said: “When it comes to Sachin, I think the best thing to do is not to speculate,”

Dhoni, meanwhile, is expecting England to shuffle their pack - and certainly select Monty Panesar as a second specialist spinner.

“England’s attack looked quite balanced,” he said of the formula of three seamers, one spinner and all-rounder Samit Patel’s left-arm orthodox which the tourists used last week.

“Monty is a very good left-arm spinner, and may get a bit of turn and more bounce (here) compared to some of the other sub-continental wickets.

“I think his role will be crucial. It will be interesting to see who they will omit from the side - I suppose one of the all-rounders who can bat will be out.”

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