Master batsman Sachin Tendulkar may be about to play Test cricket on his home ground for the final time - but his captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is not banking on it.
At 39, Tendulkar's next opportunity of a Test at the Wankhede Stadium - after the match set to start against England - will be at least two years away. One of the most enticing prospects for the Mumbai crowd over the next five days will, therefore, be the possibility of their favourite son adding a 101st international hundred to mark the significant occasion.
Dhoni, however, suspects Tendulkar may yet be back for more before he eventually retires. "When it comes to Sachin, I think the best thing to do is not to speculate," he said. "He may come back and play a few more Test matches here. So let's wait and watch, and enjoy the kind of cricket he plays."
England could do without a Tendulkar virtuoso, as they seek to overturn strong historical trends by levelling the four-Test series after last week's nine-wicket defeat in the opening match in Ahmedabad. There, only Alastair Cook - in his first Test as permanent captain - prevented India marching to victory much more quickly.
"He (Cook) 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.
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."
- Sports & Recreation
- Mahendra Singh Dhoni
- Sachin Tendulkar
- Alastair Cook