We offset pressure by sticking to basics: Dhoni

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Published: Wednesday, February 2, 2011, 9:47 [IST]
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Mumbai, Feb 1:Indian captain M S Dhoni is positive that pressure in the upcoming World Cup will bring out the best in his side and that the team will be unfazed by the high expectations. The concept of pressure itself has undergone a transformation in the Indian psyche over the last few years, feels Dhoni.

"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. " Everybody wants us to do well and we take that in a positive way. We just stick to the basics, prepare well for the game and at the end of the day we know we have got the potential to do well on the field."

One of the quandaries facing the India team, who play their first match on February 19 against Bangladesh, is how they will deal with the pressure of being event's hosts along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. India have failed to get past the semi-final stage in the two previous World Cups held on home soil. However, Dhoni said he was focusing on merely the preparation. "I am ready to prepare well for the World Cup and that is what is in my hands right now."

Dhoni skirted the question of whether India were favourites for the World Cup by saying: "For a change we won't be considered underdogs. 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 I have no prediction about the World Cup and we will just give it our best shot."

After criticism from some quarters over the unbalanced scheduling for the tournament, Dhoni said, "The biggest thing in cricket is that we do criticise a lot. When we lose a game, even I have said in the past that we play too much cricket. To get the perfect balance is a very difficult task because there is a very thin line and it is not like technology where we can be close to perfection."

India have selected seven batsmen, a quartet of speedsters, a trio of spinners and just one wicketkeeper in their 15-man squad for the World Cup, and Dhoni said there were always players bound to be overlooked when you have to pick just 15 players. "We have tried to keep the best squad but you can't accommodate everyone."

Dhoni said he wasn't perturbed about the shock loss to Bangladesh - who are India's first opponents in the 2011 tournament - in the 2007 World Cup. "I am certainly thinking about the match [against Bangladesh] positively. We may have lost in 2007, but there are plenty of positives that we can look for like the 2003 World Cup.

Dhoni and Co. will probably take solace in the fact that they haven't lost to Bangaldesh since May 2007 and that they have beaten the neighbours 5 times out of 5 at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur where they will be playing them on Feb 19.


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