Dhoni - Tests above Twenty20
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has confirmed his commitment to India above his IPL franchise the Chennai Super Kings.
Last Updated: 19/11/08 2:29pm
Mahendra Singh Dhoni has confirmed his commitment to India ahead of his IPL franchise the Chennai Super Kings.
India captain Dhoni faces a potential fixture clash as the Super Kings are taking part in the inaugural Twenty20 Champions League next month.
The final of that competition - should the Super Kings get that far - is scheduled for December 10 in Chennai, with Dhoni due to lead India the following day in the first Test against England in Ahmedabad.
To play in both fixtures the wicketkeeper would have to make an overnight trip of more than 1,800 kilometres.
It had been reported that the Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) requested to their English counterparts that the first Test be put back 24 hours to allow Dhoni more time to prepare.
Long way off
But the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed on Tuesday that the match would start as originally scheduled on December 11.
And Dhoni, speaking ahead of Thursday's third one-day international against England in Kanpur, confirmed that - regardless of the Super Kings' Champions League progress - his first commitment was to lead India in Ahmedabad.
"I think your country must come first," he said. "It is up to the BCCI so whatever they decide will be done, but it should always be that the Test match is put first.
"We are not thinking about the games ahead at this moment, we are only thinking about this series.
"We are not even thinking about the fourth and fifth games so the Champions League is way off yet."
Before Dhoni links up with Chennai for the Champions League, he is aiming to have secured a comfortable one-day series win over England, having already led India to two convincing wins in the seven-match series.
Seamer Ishant Sharma has yet to feature in the series after being rested for a slight ankle complaint and may return in Kanpur.
"He's 100 per cent fit and has bowled a long spell in the nets so he's available for selection," confirmed Dhoni.
"He's a bowler who is always there even when he's tired, we've seen that in Test matches when he comes back for a third spell.
"He bowls with the same amount of effort whenever you give him the ball. It is great but at the same time you have to take care of players like this.
"He's only 20 years old and he's got a long career ahead of him so it's very important to give him rest."
Sharma is likely to replace left-arm seamer RP Singh, who was hit for 49 runs in just five overs during Monday's 54-runs triumph in Indore.