Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virender Sehwag played down the notion of looking to get even, but revenge is very much on India’s mind when they face England in a four-Test series starting in Ahmedabad today.
Just three months after guiding India to a famous 50-over World Cup victory on home soil last year, Dhoni and his men arrived in England for what proved to be a disastrous tour.
In eight painful weeks, India lurched from one humiliating defeat to another and surrendered their No. 1 Test ranking to the hosts following a 4-0 whitewash.
However, wicketkeeper Dhoni said he believed that “revenge” is a word best avoided in the sporting arena and his view is echoed by explosive opening batsman Sehwag.
“For us, it’s important to win the series. You people [the media] use words like revenge because you have to run shows and write headlines,” Sehwag recently told reporters in Delhi.
While the senior players steered clear of talking about grudges, Suresh Raina, who was part of the squad that failed to win a single international match on that tour, had no such obligation to play down India’s motivation this time.
“I was there in England last year and I feel the pain of losing that series 4-0,” the left-handed batsman told reporters upon England’s arrival in the country. “I want to give some of that pain back.”
The onus will be placed on India’s slow bowlers to exploit England’s well-documented weakness against spin and the hosts are expected to request each venue prepare bouncing, turning wickets to assist their cause.
England skipper Alastair Cook was six weeks old when the tourists last won a Test series in India and their prospects will depend on how they negate the threat posed by off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and left-armer Pragyan Ojha.