rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Cricket » We can't just focus on Mahela or Sangakkara: Dhoni

We can't just focus on Mahela or Sangakkara: Dhoni

Last updated on: June 19, 2013 20:01 IST

We can't just focus on Mahela or Sangakkara: Dhoni

     Next

Next

Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni rated Sri Lanka as "a dangerous team" ahead of the ICC Champions Trophy second semi-final in Cardiff on Thursday, saying the Indian team is not just focusing on "a Mahela Jayawardene or a Kumar Sangakkara".

Thursday's semi-final will be the fifth meeting between India and Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom. Except the shock defeat in the 1979 World Cup, India easily won the other four encounters.

However, Dhoni is taking nothing for granted.

"Sri Lanka are a dangerous squad. We just can't focus on a Mahela (Jayawardene) or a (Kumar) Sangakkara. We have to think of the entire team," Dhoni told reporters after Wednesday's training session.

He dismissed talk of pressure on his boys to win the championship.

"It's the Indian media that creates all this hype after the recent controversies back home] and then asks me questions.

"As far as we are concerned, we have to play good cricket; we are working hard and just proving ourselves."


Image: MS Dhoni
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

     Next

Rain could play spoilsport

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

India's captain is selective in dealing with the press during the Champions Trophy. Except the mandatory ICC briefings, he is hard to get because of the Board of Control for Cricket in India's media policies.

Meanwhile, rain could play spoilsport at the Sophia Gardens. If the match is washed out, India will go through to the final in Birmingham on June 23 because they topped their group.

Equal on points, but due to an inferior run-rate, the Lankans finished second behind England in Group A.


Photographs: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Prev     Next

'Malinga always a dangerous bowler'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Dhoni is not thinking about a wash-out though. He said the team is planning as it would normally do before every game.

"Of course, the teams know each other so well that we can save those extra 10-15 minutes strategizing in team meetings," he said tongue-in-cheek.

He added that his boys are not too wary about the dangerous Lasith Malinga.

"We play each other a lot in the IPL and understand him better. He reverses the ball very well in the sub-continent, but we are okay with him. He always remains a dangerous bowler," he said.

Dhoni said India's success so far in the Champions Trophy, where they are unbeaten in five games, including two warm-ups, is also due to some excellent work by the back-up team.

He said the presence of Duncan Fletcher (coach), Trevor Penney (fielding coach) and Joe Dawes (bowling coach) helped him concentrate on other team details.


Image: Lasith Malinga
Photographs: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Prev     Next

'Ishant is someone who gets a decent amount of bounce'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Asked if the team was looking to tie up any particular loose end before semis, Dhoni said, "We'll have to see what strength we are really looking for against a particular opposition. Ishant is someone who gets a decent amount of bounce, who is tall and can have a big impact, especially in the middle overs once the ball gets slightly old.

"I think on and off each and every one will have a few games where they'll go for runs.

"Umesh had a bad game, then Ishant had a bad game. So I think it's important to keep backing the guys and also the fact that they learn a lot out of these games."

India and Sri Lanka had faced each other in the 2011 World Cup final, which the Indians won, but Dhoni feels that match could not be taken as a reference point.

"Even if both the teams were the same, there have been a significant amount of changes that have been made to the format, quite a few rules and regulations.

"So I don't think we can really count on all those stats. So I think it's very different. I think Sri Lanka, they are a really good squad.

"They are going through a phase where they are missing some of their players. So I think it's important for both the teams to do well, and I think they're a very good team," he explained.


Image: Ishant Sharma
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Prev     Next

'You have to be honest to yourself'

Prev     More
Prev

More

Dhoni had faced a lot of criticism in Australia last year when he tried making some changes in the playing XI and get some youngsters in to have a positive impact on the fielding.

But here he has been praised for using exactly the same thing. "I think it's important not to react because that's what people are looking for.

"You have to be honest to yourself as to what needs to be done when it comes to looking into the future and making a good team as fielding I feel is very important, especially nowadays.

"If the opposition is scoring 250-odd runs, and if you have saved those 15 or 20 runs, it can have a big impact on the game. This was one aspect which was quite missing when it came to Indian cricket.

"For us it was more about the batting and the bowling aspect, which meant the skill of fielding was slightly missing. We still had good fielders, but the problem is when you don't have too many good fielders, you can't use them at too many places."


Image: MS Dhoni
Photographs: Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Tags: Australia

Prev     More
© Copyright 2013 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.