Cricket - Dhoni hints pacemen will prosper

India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni kept the mixed messages coming on the state of the pitch for the third Test against England.

PA Sport
Cricket - Dhoni hints pacemen will prosper

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Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes pace bowlers will have a 'crucial' role to play at Eden Gardens

Thousands of inconclusive words have been written and spoken over the past week about the conditions to be expected when play gets under way with the series level at 1-1. It is hard to escape the likely conclusion that a slow turner - closer to Ahmedabad, where England lost the first Test, than Mumbai, where they won the second - will be presented at Eden Gardens.

"The wicket looks good. I don't think there will be much help for the spinners initially," said Dhoni. "The fast bowlers get a bit of swing at this time of year, both at start of play and then close to stumps. So I think the role of fast bowlers will be very crucial in this game."

If it was Dhoni's intention to confuse the opposition, he could hardly have chosen much more effective language than at his pre-match press conference.

Dhoni's thesis is that home advantage is a fundamental part of international cricket and one that should be fostered rather than mistrusted because it creates one of his sport's great challenges and fascinations.

"When you come to India you want to play on turning tracks, irrespective of the result," added the wicketkeeper-batsman.

"We lost the last game, but still we want to play on wickets that suit the sub-continent - what the sub-continental challenge is all about.

"If you're not really doing that then that concept of playing around the world, and facing different challenges, goes down the drain.

"If you come to India, why do you want to play on wickets that are flat for the first three or four days? And sometimes even five days is not enough to get a result.

"I feel the challenge is to play on tracks that turn, and assist the spinners."

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