India-England series is not Dhoni-KP duel

Published: Thursday, November 13, 2008, 16:25 [IST]
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Rajkot: Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said the contest which begins from tomorrow is about teams outplaying each other and not a personal duel between him and England skipper Kevin Pietersen.

Speaking to media persons after the practice session on the eve of the first ODI which will be held at the Madhavrao Scindia stadium here tomorrow, the skipper said, ''We can sit and play a game of chess in my room or his room. But it is a team sport.

It's all about winning the series and it all starts from tomorrow.'' ''It is not about outsmarting each other as a skipper but it about outplaying each other as a side. As a team we have to do well and dominate the opponent and do it consistently,'' he said.

Dhoni said the major challenge within the team lies with switching from Test to One-day cricket mode in just three days' time.

''It's never easy when you play back-to-back international series. We had three days' time to switch over from five-day to One-day series. It's quite tough but then as an international cricketer you are supposed to play and adapt,'' said the wicket keeper-batsman ahead of the first of seven ODIs here.

Dhoni, however, said there would be smooth transition since players in the ODI squad did not play in the recently concluded Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test series against Australia.

''One of the good things is that half the side hasn't played the Test series. It's good right now. But I have played Test cricket as well as one-day series, it is quite difficult to switch over to One-day mode but as I said we are international cricketers.

We are professionals,'' he said.

The Indian skipper felt that the wicket looked on the softer side and could help the seam bowlers in the morning. ''The wicket is quite soft right now. They are rolling the wicket, at the same time there's a bit of grass on it. So in the morning there will be assistance for fast bowlers. It doesn't look it will break. It's all predictions, you will know only when you play,'' he said.

Speaking about the new power play rule, which will be introduced in India for the first time tomorrow, Dhoni said this new rule has made the game exciting.

''The last Power Play, the five overs, will be decided by the team which is batting. You (fielding side) won't have any liberty of planning. It means when you plan a few strategies on the ground, suddenly you find the opposition asking about the five overs. You have to be ready for it.

''It's very tough to say anything right now, how much it will help the side batting first or second. We can see a few games and see what is really happening. But they say chasing will be easier if you have a good partnership and you can take it after that. It is really confusing right now,'' he said.

As per the new Power Play rules, the batting side can choose the timing of either the second or third Power Play (each lasting five overs), whereas the fielding side previously chose both.

Dhoni did not think that the 5-1 thrashing of England by India in their previous visit in 2005-06 would have any bearing on the upcoming ODI series.

''It is past. It's history. We are not thinking about it,'' he said.


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