India already running in sixth gear: Dhoni

Looking at the team, Dhoni was justified in expressing confidence as India had won the last seven matches on the trot and 10 out of the 11 T20 matches it had played in the last two months. In doing this India won two series — against Australia and Sri Lanka — before lifting the Asia Cup title.

Indian captain M. S. Dhoni during a press conference in Kolkata on Tuesday in connection with the World Twenty20 event.   -  PTI

India’s T20 performance is running on the “sixth gear” and the success in Asia Cup T20 should give the team the confidence to go on and win the ICC World T20 crown.

“The Asia Cup offered us a good build-up. The build-up will depend on the way we start. I do not think I will have to worry about the final. We will have to worry about the preparation and execution,” >M. S. Dhoni said at the team’s pre-tournament news conference on Tuesday. “We will slowly go into warm-up games and take one game at a time. All the sides are very good. Every side has two or three players who can win a match on their own. I feel a slow and steady progress is very important.”



Dhoni's interaction with media
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Looking at the team, Dhoni was justified in expressing confidence as India had won the last seven matches on the trot and 10 out of the 11 T20 matches it had played in the last two months. In doing this India won two series — against Australia and Sri Lanka — before lifting the Asia Cup title. “I think we are running on sixth gear and the kind of stuff we are doing on the field is adequate for any level of the game. We have to see that the focus is on from the very first ball. I think everything is set and there are no other gears to operate upon. I am really quite happy with the progress,” Dhoni sought to keep it unambiguous.

The Indian captain hoped that the team would not be hit by any fitness problems during the World Cup. “Fitness will be one of the concerns. Because of fitness you may lose one of the first XI. Unless it is a ball-hit injury or something like that, we will be quite happy,” Dhoni said.

The Indian limited-over captain said the shorter format of the game left it open for every team in the tournament. “Let us not say it is happening in India so it belongs to us. Especially in the shorter formats the difference becomes smaller and smaller. Every team has a chance and if we play to our potential and execute our plans then we definitely have a chance,” Dhoni said.

Dhoni, whose six-ball cameo of 20 not out helped India win the Asia Cup comfortably, said he would prefer to keep his role to that. “Ninety per cent of the time I will be playing the same kind of role as I played in the Asia Cup. Playing a 10-12 ball innings is what I would prefer. I am ready for the challenges,” Dhoni said, preferring to keep himself as the team’s crisis resolver. “When it comes to my role, I felt not everybody can be flexible according to the needs. At times if you have a good partnership, and if you have the flexibility and adaptability the job becomes easier. This kind of adaptability is needed,” he was specific about the contribution he intended to make.

The Indian captain said it was difficult to identify the challengers in a big event like the World Cup. “It is a world class tournament. Every team is very good. Every team has a set of players who can play big shots. All teams have fantastic bowlers and good all-rounders. I feel that everything will boil down to how well you play on the particular day,” Dhoni said.

Reiterating his faith on Virat Kohli, Dhoni said the batsman possessed real versatility. “For me a finisher is a lower- order batsman. The top-order batsman always sets up the innings, but it is useful to have somebody like Virat at No. 3, who also has the ability to finish the game. But when the opposition scores big it is important for your 5-6-7 (in batting order) to finish the game. The entire set-up is for the lower-order batsman to finish the game. You have to think twice before hitting lower down the order as you have not many batsmen after you. It is a complex job. If you have three batsmen of Virat’s calibre then more often than not they will finish,” Dhoni said.