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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Dhoni plays down hype, says pressure is part of Indian cricket

Dhoni plays down hype, says pressure is part of Indian cricket

Last updated on: March 29, 2011 17:29 IST

No match has got as much hype as the Ind-Pak match

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Bikash Mohapatra in Mohali

Politicians, business barons, film stars and a stadium that resembles an armed garrison.

Add to it the unprecedented hype in the media.

- Will Team India be third time lucky?

That in short sums up the World Cup semi-final between India and Pakistan, to be played at the PCA stadium, in Mohali, on Wednesday.

With a plethora of high profile names expected to be in the attendance, including the prime ministers of the two countries, the match is bound to, and getting more attention than any other match in the tournament.

So much attention and hype also means added pressure for both the teams, particularly the home team.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni at the nets session in Mohali on Monday
Photographs: Getty Images
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'The hype won't be affecting us'

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However, if India captain MS Dhoni is to be believed, there is no pressure.

"It depends on what you mean by hype, the one created by the media or that by the sponsors," Dhoni said.

"In any case we aren't involved in either.

"So it won't be affecting us," he explained.

Dhoni said the focus of the team instead will be on the match per se. 

"We are going to play a semi-final and it is important how we prepare ourselves for that, irrespective of what the hype is," Dhoni said.

"The hype and pressure is nothing new. It's been a part of Indian cricket for a long time now."


Image: Coach Gary Kirsten laughs along with Sachin Tendulkar during a practice session
Photographs: Getty Images
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'Unaware about what is happening as regards the political aspect'

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Dhoni explained his team didn't know much about the political angle that will be prominent before, during and after the game.

- History beckons India, Pakistan at Mohali

"We are unaware about what is happening as regards the political aspect," said India's captain.

"Not watching television for the last few weeks has helped a lot," he added, before admitting that his team is prepared to meet any expectations the dignitaries might have ahead of the game.

"The dignitaries who will be coming will be there to watch good cricket," he said, adding, "We are expected to play well and we will try and ensure we do that.

"We have to be at our best for the guests."


Image: Sachin Tendulkar walks across the field while being watched by two policemen
Photographs: Getty Images
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'Difficult to concentrate with all the hype around the match'

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The captain reiterated that his side is used to the hype and hoopla and that they are not too worried about the same.

"It is a bit difficult to concentrate with all the hype around the match," admitted Dhoni.

- 'Have enough experience of playing in India'

- World Cup coverage

"But when you are in the latter stages of a tournament, you get used to all this. Whether you think of the hype or not, it doesn't help you perform. And any thing that doesn't help your performance has to be kept away," he added.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar bats during an India nets session
Photographs: Getty Images
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