Dhoni contemplates Jadeja replacement

India

The absence of a genuine all-rounder is a genuine concern for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, ahead of India's first Test against the West Indies in Kolkata, which will get underway on Wednesday.

The absence of a genuine all-rounder is a genuine concern for captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, ahead of India's first Test against the West Indies in Kolkata, which will get underway on Wednesday.

Spinner Ravindra Jadeja would have fulfilled the role, but has been rested after injuring a shoulder recently. His omission has left the hosts' batting and bowling resources depleted at Eden Gardens.

"It has been a bit of a concern. I've always said that we need good seam bowler or a frontline spinner who can bat a bit. At times you don't realise the importance of a particular player. People criticise so much," said Dhoni.

"Now that we don't have Jadeja we are thinking whether to have a fifth bowler or maybe another spinner who can bat a bit. Then the batting will become thin. We will have to find someone to do the job. It's always good to have a plan B or C."

Batsmen Rohit Sharma and Ajinka Rahane are vying for the number six berth, with the former favourite afte scoring a record-breaking double-century in the seventh and final ODI against Australia recently.

"Well the thing is whether we want to go with four bowlers or have a fifth to the attack, or someone who can bowl a bit if needed. That's one major decision. Though the decision is one, it's divided into three different aspects," added Dhoni.

"If we go with five bowlers, both of them – Rohit and Rahane – may not play. If we need someone who can bowl a bit of off-spin then Rohit plays. Thirdly, if we go with four specialist bowlers, Ajinkya stays."

The talented Cheteshwar Pujara, meanwhile, has cemented a permanent posiition in the Test XI – in the wake of the veteran VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid's retirements. The right-hander has amassed 1180 runs in 22 innings at the impressive average of 65.55 since debuting against the Aussies in 2010.

"Pujara is a very calm and composed and technically sound. He has played a lot of domestic cricket with some really long innings. He is really contained but aggressive against spinners. He is more about piercing the gap and does not hit more fours and sixes. He knows his limitations and the experience of first class cricket helps him," concluded Dhoni.

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