June 30, 2013

Dhoni confident of sustaining momentum in Caribbean triseries


By Syed Khalid Mahmood
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Following their magnificent title-winning performance in the just concluded ICC Champions Trophy 2013 in England, the expectations from the Indian side, captained by Mahendra Singh Dhoni, are on the higher side as they begin their campaign in the triseries in the Caribbean with a game against the hosts on June 30.

There has been so much cricket during the last few years and the cricketers from India in particular have had to travel a lot. They had played the final of the Champions Trophy at Edgbaston on June 23 and now they have to take on the hosts in their first game of the triseries just one week later. 

Sri Lanka, who lost to India in the semifinals of the Champions Trophy, are the third team taking part in the tournament. In fact they have already played their first game in the tourney, having surrendered tamely to the West Indies in the opener on June 28. 

The triseries will have each team facing the other two twice in the preliminary stage to determine the finalists who will clash for the trophy at Port of Spain on July 11. The Indians appear eager to extend their purple patch which began with the warm-up fixtures of the Champions Trophy earlier this month. 

They had retained the same squad for the triseries but were forced to make a change at a later stage when Irfan Pathan was ruled out due to hamstring injury. He has been replaced by Shami Ahmed, a promising young medium-pacer, who bowled impressively in the limited opportunities that came came his way at home last season.

"What is very important for us is not to look too far ahead. We will take it series by series. We just finished a world tournament in the UK and now we are in the West Indies. First, we will have to see the two teams which are ahead of us. The performance was really good in UK but we need to continue," skipper M S Dhoni remarked upon arrival in the West Indies. 

"The demands of the fans remain the same. The expectation when it comes to the Indian cricket team has always been the same. If things are moving, it will only move in one direction which is up,” he added. 

M S Dhoni, having become the first captain to win the World Cup, the World Twenty20 and the Champions Trophy, reckoned that the team's success has been made possible by the dressing-room environment which thrived on each other's performances.

"I'm fortunate to have the players in the side to really soak up the pressure. What we have done really well is we have enjoyed each other's success and that has really contributed to the side winning most of the games. If I'm happier than the person who has actually scored a century or a fifty, you understand that's the kind of atmosphere that you want, because at the end of the day, what we play is a team sport,” he stated. 

"It's important that the guys sitting out just to wait for their chance, don't think that if this guy does badly I will get a chance. They can use that period to improve themselves and whenever the chance, whatever the reason may be, fitness or form, they try to earn that place in the side,” the skipper concluded.


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