Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni continues to baffle the English team with his innovative and bold strategies. If on the first day, he surprised the visiting team by playing three spinners, today, when the England team came out to bat, for the first time in the history of Indian cricket, Dhoni opened the attack with two spinners in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha in the ten minutes played before the lunch session.
However, the spinners bowled two overs and could not make a breakthrough. Former Test left-arm spinner SL Venkatapathy Raju said it was more of a psychology ploy. “To be honest, it is very difficult to get the new ball to turn. But it was more to surprise the English batsmen,” said Raju.
After lunch, Dhoni gave the first over to left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan and continued with Ojha at the other end. According to spin legend Shane Warne, Dhoni is playing mind games with the England team. “By asking for spin wickets, where the ball can turn from Day One, it is more part of a mind game,” said Warne ahead of the second Test.
By including three spinners, Dhoni sprang a surprise on Friday contrary to his announcement that they would continue with the two-two combination (pace and spin) in this Test. But Harbhajan Singh got the nod ahead of Ishant Sharma or Ashok Dinda.
It brought back to memories of the golden days of the spin era when Bishen Bedi, BS Chandrasekhar, EAS Prasanna or S Venkataraghavan played and when India fielded three spinners in a match. But even during that time, the late MAK Pataudi and Ajit Wadekar, who were great advocates of spin bowling, did not have the spinners open the bowling. They would ask non-regular bowlers like Sunil Gavaskar to bowl two or three overs before handing the ball to the spinners, preferably Bedi.