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Dhoni determined to turn India into tougher tourists

Last updated on: December 24, 2011 13:18 IST

Dhoni bids to lead his team to a breakthrough Test series win in Australia

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Having India shake off their image as home-track bullies is one of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's goals as he bids to lead his team to a breakthrough Test series win in Australia.

India secured the world's top ranking on home soil after beating Sri Lanka at the end of 2009, but surrendered it meekly to England on tour with a 4-0 whitewash in August.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Getty Images

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'We have been poor on tours this year'

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While scratching out tour wins over lowly Bangladesh and New Zealand, India's home dominance has been tempered by drawn away series with Sri Lanka and South Africa over the past two years.

"Consistently performing well on overseas tours is something we are aiming for and as captain I see it as a challenge," the soft-spoken wicketkeeper-batsman told reporters in Melbourne on Saturday.

"While we have done well in certain series, we have been poor on tours this year so we need to prepare in a fashion that will provide us with the best chance of winning the series."


Image: Virender Sehwag (right) chats to team-mate Gautam Gambhir
Photographs: Getty Images

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Question marks remain over the fitness of Zaheer, Ishant

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Although question marks remain over the fitness of front-line pacemen Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, the team has invested carefully in their preparations, arriving in Australia two weeks before Monday's first Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

That contrasts with their hasty leadup in the last Australian tour in 2007/08, when they were edged 2-1 after pushing the hosts right to the end.

With their golden generation of batsmen almost certainly to play their last series Down Under, India are fancied to upset a disjointed Australian side with a raw bowling unit and new selectors still searching for the team's best 11.


Image: Zaheer Khan (right) with Ishant Sharma
Photographs: Getty Images

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'I don't see a single area where we need to be really worried'

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Dhoni, who has made a career of investing in attention to detail, had little time for debating underdogs versus favourites.

"We are always under pressure so we don't really think about the tag," he said.

"I don't see Australia's changing team being the reason we have a good chance to perform well, it's mostly about our preparation and commitment to the task.

"As far as getting worried is concerned, I don't see a single area where we need to be really worried.

"If you see the batting line-up that we've got, it's not the first time that they will be touring Australia and it's not the first time they will be playing at the venue.

"They know the conditions very well ... We are very optimistic that we will do well in the Test match."


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Photographs: Getty Images

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