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We need to focus on winning this Test: Dhoni

November 05, 2013 15:10 IST

We need to focus on winning this Test: Dhoni

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Bikash Mohapatra

“Before you ask anything, first tell me who has spelt Sachin’s name wrong out there,” jokes M S Dhoni, pointing out to the faux pas -- spelt as Sachine, in the electronic scoreboard at the EdenGardens -- not many at the venue knew about till he mentioned it.

In normal circumstances, the captain of any team strategizes ahead of a Test match. Dhoni’s case is different, though. Ahead of the opening Test against the West Indies, the hype and hoopla is palpably around Tendulkar’s impending milestone – his 200th and final Test match – and, in such a scenario, it is usually difficult for the leader of any side to focus.


Image: India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (left) and Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Bikash Mohapatra

India’s captain, however, is in no predicament. In fact, he sounds rather optimistic, the joke above being a case in point.

“It was something expected,” says Dhoni.

“In fact, it was a good thing to know about this beforehand,” he adds, before proceeding to elaborate his point.

“The focus of the team so far has been brilliant,” explained the captain. “As a team we have not thought of anything else apart from cricket in the last few days. We have so far tried our best to be less distracted.

“The dressing room atmosphere is more or less the same. In a way we are sorted. Once the game starts it will be business as usual.”


Image: India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (left) and Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Dinuka Liyanawatte/Reuters

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We need to focus on winning this Test: Dhoni

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Bikash Mohapatra

Asked about the euphoria surrounding Tendulkar, Dhoni was quick to compliment the Master Blaster for the manner in which he has handled the situation so far.

“Sachin has been his composed self. He has been interacting with the younger players in a similar manner he has done over the years, giving them tips about improving their batting or bowling. That’s made things so much easier,” he said.

While any team would like to give a winning send off to one of the legends in their midst, Dhoni remains focused.

“We first need to focus on winning this Test,” he declared.

“Thereafter, there is another Test match (at the Wankhede next week). Once that is over, and the results go our way, we can say that we are dedicating the game to someone.

 “And to know who is that someone makes it all the more easier,” he added, with a chuckle.


Image: India's captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (right) plays with a ball as teammate Sachin Tendulkar watches
Photographs: Punit Paranjpe/Reuters

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