Time we focussed on preparation, not pressure: Dhoni

Thursday, February 10, 2011

BANGALORE - India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni Thursday chose to shift the focus from “pressure” of playing the World Cup at home to “process and preparation” of the team.

At his first press conference ahead of the World Cup, which starts Feb 19, Dhoni tried to play down the extraneous things that are getting talked about when the players should be concentrating on the mega event.

“A lot of hype is created around the World Cup but there are a lot of expectations from the Indian team in every series we play.

“We are supposed to win the World Cup, the atmosphere was the same in 2007, it won’t be right to consider this as one of the final frontiers. It’s one of the big tournaments, the team needs to do well and it’s always the process and preparation that will help us achieve success, not thinking about what’s coming and how big the tournament is,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni said all the teams in the World Cup are quite dangerous.

“You cannot take any of the teams lightly. I feel as a team it is always better to back your strength rather than thinking too much about the condition, and trying to get players that will suit the condition but do not really have the talent. So, I think most of the teams will go with their best bowling line.”

“We want to win the World Cup as it might be Sachins last. We have talented youngsters who can change the course of the game and there are many players who have more than three-four years of international exposure.”

Dhoni said he was satisfied with the World Cup schedule.

“It is very difficult to form a perfect schedule and format. A tournament schedule will be either too long or too short.

“I am quite happy with the schedule. It will give us time to recover from small niggles,” Dhoni said on the second day of his team’s preparatory camp for the 45-day World Cup that begins with a match between co-hosts India and Bangladesh. The third co-host is Sri Lanka.

The schedule has been criticised, particularly by England’s Kevin Pietersen who questioned the six-day gap in some of the matches his team plays.

The Indian captain said the team would miss fast bowler Praveen Kumar who is nursing an elbow injury. Pacer from Kerala Shantakumaran Sreesanth has taken his place.

Dhoni said it was “unfortunate that Praveen had to miss the World Cup. He is a street-smart cricketer and we will miss him.”

The captain, without mentioning any name, said a few players were “suffering from slight niggles, which is always there but nothing serious.”

The players who have recovered from those ‘niggles’ are Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar.

The Indian team hit the nets and gym late Wednesday and will continue the practice till Feb 12 at the National Cricket Academy facility here.

The Indian team will play its first warm-up match against Australia here.

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