Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has said that he is ready to bat at number six and thus dropped big hints that his side will look to go into the first Test against England with five bowling options here tomorrow.
"I have to be ready at number six because that's a crucial phase of the game where you can turn the matches," Dhoni said on the eve of the opening game of the five-match series.
"If you start getting a few boundaries and bat positively in the company of other batsmen, and that's the time of the game you are able to get some quick runs because the ball will be slightly old and the bowlers are a bit tired. But you have to make sure that you get good start, and more importantly you capitalise on it."
"There are not too many teams around that have five bowlers. So, in itself it is a big challenge. It is great to have five bowlers outside the sub-continent and we will look at the wicket tomorrow and then decide," he added.
It means that India could look to play Stuart Binny as an all-round option at number seven. Dhoni though turned diplomatic when Binny's name was thrown at him directly.
"Stuart is someone who can bowl a bit and at the same time bat as well. If we can give him enough chance and groom him, then he can be someone who can do that job for us in the next 6-8 months. He won't be as good as someone like Jacques Kallis but he can be someone who can bowl that 10 overs and bat a bit," he replied.
Playing five bowlers will give India a chance to back up their three-seamers-one-spinner bowling attack that was found wanting in South Africa and New Zealand. The team was able to get into winning positions in Johannesburg and Auckland but unable to close out those games.
"We had to play with three fast bowlers and one spinner and if the pitch is not turning then a lot of effort and work needs to be shared by the fast bowlers. If you look at those Test matches, the fast bowlers bowled their heart out. Sometimes a little luck is also needed in cricket. We need to give credit to the opposition but overall I felt the bowling department did well," Dhoni said.
When asked if Zaheer Khan's absence has compounded