Gaps in matches will help field best players: Dhoni

By Sirshendu Panth, IANS
Thursday, February 17, 2011

DHAKA - The long gaps between the cricket World Cup fixtures have come in for criticism from some quarters, but Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels the breaks will help teams to field their best players.

Dhoni, who reached here with the team for the opening match against Bangladesh Saturday, made light of the pressure of playing the World Cup at home.

The wicket-keeper batsman, who led the team to victory in the 2007 Twenty20 World Cup, said that any team can win the 11th edition of cricket’s mega event.

“It is an open World Cup. All teams are in good form. The way the format has been prepared, there are long breaks. If players have any niggles, they can recover in time for the next match. The fixture is such that the best XI can be easily fielded,” Dhoni said at a press conference where captains of all 14 competing nations were present.

Asked whether the pressure of playing at home will weigh them down, Dhoni said pressure is part of Indian cricket team.

“I think this (pressure) is part and parcel of Indian cricket. We get appreciated a lot and also get criticism. I think we have to accept that.”

When asked about Suresh Raina missing the team bus to the airport for the morning flight from Chennai to Dhaka, Dhoni responded in a lighter vein. Raina later reached the airport in a car.

“If one or two is missing, it is not a big deal when we have 15 in the team. The important thing is that everyone should catch the flight,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni wished all the participating teams luck and hoped the visitors will have enjoyable time.

“I hope it will be a fine World Cup. Cricket is very popular in the subcontinent and people will enjoy the next 43 days of cricket. For others who are coming here, I wish them a happy stay and enjoy the hospitality of the subcontinent.”

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara said they are excited to play in front of home crowd.

“I think we will do better than all other teams. It is great to play at home. There is lot of passion for the game in the subcontinent. What is important for us is that we are playing in the home ground. The way the format is prepared, the matches from quarterfinal onwards are most important.”

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