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For a change we won't be considered underdogs: Dhoni

Last updated on: February 1, 2011 18:26 IST

'I never predict much when it comes to cricket'

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Harish Kotian

They may be facing tremendous pressure to deliver at home, but India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes his team is not weighed down by the tag of 'favourites' for the upcoming World Cup.

Experts reckon this is the best chance for Team India, ranked No. 2 in ODIs, to win the coveted trophy for a second time and repeat the feat of 1983 in front of home fans.

"For a change we won't be considered underdogs, because most of the places we go there is plenty of pressure on us. I think the Indian cricket team always performs under pressure, because it is a big part of Indian cricket. What we have done in the last three years is that we have changed the meaning of pressure to responsibility, and we take it as an added responsibility," Dhoni said, at a promotional event, in Mumbai on Tuesday, where he was named brand ambassador for electronics giant Sony.

He refused to make predictions on India's performance at the mega event, which commences February 19.

"I never predict much when it comes to cricket. We believe in each of us, and the support staff members are also there to help us. We believe in doing the process; so no prediction about the World Cup. We will just give it our best shot."

Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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'It is always a fresh start'

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India's last World Cup campaign, in 2007, was a disaster, as the team was knocked out in the first round, and even beaten by minnows Bangladesh.

Dhoni refused to dwell on the past, saying the tournament will be a fresh start for his team.

"I think past is past; it is not about what we have done in the past -- whether good or bad. It is always a fresh start for you when you turn up on the field. I think every game is important irrespective of the kind of side you are playing.

"As far as the gaps between the games are concerned, we all know that it is there; so what is best for us is to make a good plan and utilise it in the best possible manner."


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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'Important to take every game in the right frame of mind'

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He also brushed off talk about the pressure of having to face the possibility of a backlash from the country's cricket-crazy fans, well-known for extreme reaction in triumph or defeat.

"We are not thinking about what may happen if we achieve, or what may happen if we don't succeed, because those two things are beyond our control. So, rather than thinking about something that's too much ahead of us, it is very important to take every game in the right frame of mind. That's what will be our process throughout the tournament," India's skipper said.


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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'We have tried to keep the best squad'

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Dhoni justified the composition of the 15-member squad, saying the selection was done keeping the conditions in mind.

"We have tried to keep the best squad. You can't accommodate everyone. We don't really have an extra wicketkeeper in the squad, so we tried to accommodate an extra utility player. Hopefully, we won't need an extra keeper. And the tournament is also being in India; so, if needed, if something serious happens to me, I can go out and the new keeper can come in.

"Irrespective of what the team is you can only select 15 players; so you may miss some players who are key in some areas -- like a left-arm spinner or, maybe, a leg spinner. It will always be a question of discussion, but what is important is that the 15 players who are selected right now they are the ones who will make an impact on the World Cup."


Image: Mahendra Singh Dhoni

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