Dhoni insists India are ready for five-Test series in England

Kuldip Lal 05:26 22/06/2014
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Upbeat: India captain MS Dhoni is hopeful of his side's chances.

Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes his inexperienced team is ready to take on England in India’s first five-Test series there in 55 years.

India last toured England in 2011 but haven’t played five Tests on English soil since 1959 when the hosts won 5-0.

“For quite a few players it’s a first tour of England,” Dhoni said ahead of the team’s departure to England. “But they’ve had exposure in South Africa and New Zealand and have a few games behind them and they are all well aware what the challenges will be."

Only three players in the 18-member Indian squad have played in England before, including Dhoni, opener Gautam Gambhir and paceman Ishant Sharma.

India start their tour with a practice game against Leicestershire on June 26 followed by another warm-up game with Derbyshire.

The first Test starts in Nottingham on July 9 with the remaining matches in London (Lord’s and The Oval), Southampton and Manchester.

The Tests will be followed by five one-day matches and a lone Twenty20 international.

Dhoni said the warm-up games would allow the team to get acclimatised with the conditions.

“It’s good that we are going early, it will help us get into the groove. It’s a long series and it’s not very usual (for us) to play a five-Test series,” he said. “Overall, it’s looking good. We have got enough time to prepare.”

India have not played a five-Test series since losing in the Caribbean in 1997. As far as his own game was concerned, Dhoni said he would play his “normal attacking game” irrespective of the situation India find themselves in.

“I intend to go for my shots from the first ball. It is very important to back my strength and not think too much about the situation,” he said.

England beat hosts India 2-1 when the teams last squared up in a Test series in 2012.

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