Dhoni exudes confidence ahead of Asia Cup

Published: Monday, June 23, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Mumbai: A confident sounding India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said if his side plays to its potential there is no doubt of their victorious return with the Asia Cup.

Dhoni, along with coach Gary Kirsten, was speaking to scribes, before his team left for Pakistan by a late night flight today to participate in the Asia Cup.

Reacting to Sri Lankan ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan's statement that India starts favourites in the Asia Cup, Dhoni said, ''At the moment the team is playing well and therefore I feel that Muralitharan is right in calling us the favourites.''

MSD also said they have played well on Pakistan soil in the recent past and that will give them the confidence to go and play good cricket in that country again.

The Indian captain felt that not too much should be read into the loss to Pakistan in the tri-series final in Bangladesh recently.

''We had played good cricket in the tournament and winning and losing is part of the game. As long as you play good cricket, there will be more wins than losses,'' he added.

Dhoni further added that his team has taken a lot of positives out of the tri-series, though, they ended on the losing side. He said

India has been working out in handling the middle overs better.

''In a 50-over game, the middle overs form a very important part of the game. This is the time when you have to score four to five runs an over, while at the same time keep wickets in charge,'' Dhoni said.

India coach Gary Kirsten said the new generation batsmen have adapted themselves to the job very well.

''They are an extremely talented bunch of boys, who have it in them to carry Indian cricket forward,'' the coach said.

The former South African opener also said that winning the Asia Cup was within their grasp and it will be another feather in the cap for these players.

The Indian team is without their batting stalwarts Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. While Tendulkar has been rested because of a persistent groin injury, Ganguly and Dravid have made way for new blood in the Indian outfit which consists of youngsters such as Rohit Sharma, Yusuf Pathan and Suresh Raina among others.

The Asia Cup will get underway from June 24 and will continue till July 6, with India playing its first match against Hong Kong at the National stadium in Karachi.

This six-nation tourney sees India in Group B along with Pakistan and Hong Kong, while Group A consists of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and UAE. The top two teams from each group will advance to a semifinal league, which will see each team play the other once, with the top two teams then advancing to the final match on July 6.


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