Dehradun:In an exclusive interview to NDTV, Indian skipper MS Dhoni spoke his heart on a wide range of topics. From Champions League T20 to 2011 World Cup, from Save Tiger Campaign to match-fixing.
Here are some excerpts...
ON 2011 ICC WORLD CUP
I think it's a big tournament for us. All the World Cups, if you see, they are big wherever they are held, but if you see the World Cup happening in India, you know it's a real big thing. The hype that will be created .I think there will be pressure on the players, not only on the field but also off the field. With the kind of expectation that the Indian public has got with the team, we are expected to do well. It will be important for the success of the team, how individuals manage this pressure, how well they deal with this kind of a pressure.
I think most of the players have played lots of games, so that really helps in a way, but still that will be very interesting to see. Of course we have 12 -13 ODIs before we go into the World Cup, there may be a platform where you see what changes or if you have any, change in strategies or plans, you can test it. Other wise when you get closer, before four five games you don't really like to experiment too much. But I think the next for five games will be important.
IS WORLD CUP SAFE?
Definitely, we are a good side, a very talented side, but as I always say, i don't predict much about cricket. If you play to your potential and you do all the things right on the field and off the field, during that period you have a very good chance of doing well.
INCONSISTENCY IN THE TEAM
If you talk about the last series, the Tri-series, I am not too much worried about that, because I feel hat the conditions were demanding. But we can question that as international players we should perform at every venue and in every condition that you are thrown at. So we could have done a bit better. The good sign was that Virender Sehwag batted really well. The bowlers did a splendid job throughout the tournament.
Of course there are areas where we need to work, we need to be very consistent with the batting department, and we need to improve as a fielding unit, so these are the plus and negatives or you can say areas where we need to improve. before going into the World Cup.
GIVING YOUNG PLAYERS A CHANCE
Well of course. What I believe in is giving a certain number of games at a stretch, which means he doesn't have the pressure of performing on that particular game else he'll be thrown out. He plays three or four games at least, He knows 'ok the next three or four games are mine... so I have a span of period where I can perform and say that I belong to this level'. It's not only about one particular player, I try to do it to all the players. He maybe a batsman or he maybe a bowler, but at times what we have seen, the importance of a game often pushes us to go for the best eleven that's particularly suited for that game.
It's sad. The investigations are going on and something like matchfixing or spot-fixing brings disrepute to the game. It doesn't only restrict the people who are doing it and the side which they belong to. People start associating it with the whole fraternity, which means all the cricketers, whichever team you are playing for it doesn't really matter. And at times what happens, if there is a game which is a very low scoring game, people often say it's really a fixed game.
You work so hard for it, everyday you go to the gym or onto the field, travelling and the amount of pressure you go through and you achieve something which is remarkable, and people come up with those kind of words, it can be really disheartening. So let's try to keep those four five words away from cricket as much as possible.
It doesn't restrict the opinion to yourself, it goes around everywhere. So definitely harsh decisions need to be taken.
MATCH-FIXING IN THE INDIAN TEAM
I don't really think so. We are well motivated and the kind of effort that we put in the field, they can't really even think about it. So I don't see anything like that. At the end of the day, there's a bracket of money and after that you still eat the same food and you go in the same car.
Most of the cricketers come from middle class background. So they are aware of the situation and I think most of them want to play for their country, get the fame out of it and most of them are clever enough to know that money is bound to come when you play cricket for India.
I believe the struggle that they go through in the initial phase of their career that teaches them really well not to think about the money. We have already gone through the harsh part of life, when you have travelled in the sleeper class and at times in a bus with no reservations. Most of the cricketers have gone through that and I don't think anything like that will happen in the Indian cricket team.
SUPPORTING 'SAVE OUR TIGER' CAMPAIGN
There are quite a few things, apart from saying that it's our national animal. There are plenty of other things that are involved with the tiger, the ecosystem and everything else. And in a way what happens everything's chained.
The numbers of tigers are really less. We all know from 40,000 from the start of the century we are down to close to 1400-1411 now. So we have seen that our national animal is already an endangered species. When you try to save the national animal you are actually trying to save the environment because if you have tigers and the number grows, what you need is a habitat, which means the forest. Deforestation is practised everywhere. In a way what you are indirectly doing is pushing all the people to have forest which in turn helps in the development of the whole area, at the same time, the greener the place the better it is
All of us know what global warming is doing to the whole world. So I think it's a much broader cause but the face is the tiger because it's not only our national animal, it gives you the sense of pride.
ON CHAMPIONS LEAGUE T20 IN SOUTH AFRICA
We are off to South Africa. The Champions League is there. Again a big tournament. All the Champions from different countries will gather at one place and playing against each other. So I'm just hoping the tournament will be interesting.
ON CHENNAI SUPER KINGS' CHANCES
I think every side has a good chance, especially in this format. It's just about that particular day and who knows which one of the players has his brilliant day. It can be a bowler, it can be a batsman... I feel it's a very day oriented game. That three and a half hour matter and if you act your best on that particular day, then you can beat any side, maybe even the strongest side in the world.