Tough to captain India: Dhoni

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> In an exclusive interview to NDTV, skipper MS Dhoni spoke about the Twenty20 World Cup victory after Team India returned home.

Updated: November 06, 2007 15:53 IST
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In an exclusive interview with NDTV's Srinivasan Jain, skipper MS Dhoni spoke about Twenty20 World Cup victory after Team India returned home from South Africa on Wednesday.

NDTV: Congratulations on winning the Twenty20 cup.

Dhoni: We always knew it is big. Cricket is one of the biggest sports in India and the way it's followed it's an obsession right now. So we knew winning the World Cup was a big thing but we never expected so much crowd, especially when we were allowed to land. We saw it was raining. We thought there would be crowds but not as much as we saw. Throughout from airport till Wankhede (Stadium) both sides of the road it was jampacked.

NDTV: Even though it was raining people came out in thousands.

Dhoni: I think everyone was there, adults, men, women and children. It was really amazing. You know you felt like you've done something for the country.

NDTV: You were on the bus for a while after which you disappeared. What happened, were you tired?

Dhoni: Of course we had a long flight. We had to break journey for four hours in Dubai. After it was raining we got wet and we were on the top of the double decker bus. It was also windy so I was feeling a little feverish. In between, I took some time off and went to the ground floor of the bus and sat for a few minutes and again I came back.

NDTV: Dhoni this has been a turning point for you. Nobody expected India to do well. For the first time you captained. Was it working on you because you seemed so calm?

Dhoni: You know I firmly believe if an individual takes the responsibility, it takes the pressure off the skipper because that's what you need on the field.

I think (Gautam) Gambhir batted well throughout the tournament. He got three fifties. I believe he was really good and he was playing the role he was supposed to. It was a fielding side, running between wickets and fielding that's very crucial, specially for a Twenty20 type of format. I think we were brilliant at it.

NDTV: You took risks with all the young guys you had - Rohit Sharma playing, Joginder Sharma bowling at the death, so clearly you were taking risks with the young players?

Dhoni: Personally I believe if someone is playing well at international level it doesn't really matter whether you are experienced or not. You have to do well and I think that's how you expose the newcomers, you expose them to hard conditions.

NDTV: You were going up and speaking to them constantly.

Dhoni: Of course, you need to guide them, you need to make them calm, relax them, it is really tense, big stage World Cup. It can be the last over that may have the big impact on the game.

NDTV: Who are some of the youngsters who really stood out for you. There were so many, I know, but who really stood out, who you think are potential stars, the Gen-Next of Indian cricket?

Dhoni: I wouldn't really talk of the Generation next but I would just like to talk of the guys who did well in the tournament. Gautam Gambhir, of course, he has done well whenever he has played for India. Robin Uthuppa, then I think Joginder did well. Bhajji, of course is not a newcomer, but he did well. Irfan Pathan, the comeback that he has made, RP Singh, Sreeshant.

I think overall it was a total team effort. I think there was no player in the tournament which never performed at any stage. There were timings when individuals performed and that was good for us.

NDTV: What about your own performance, were you fully satisfied or do you feel that, in some ways, the pressures of captaincy mean you could not play your natural game?

Dhoni: Not really, you know. Whatever the situation was, I played according to the situation and that is what really matters. It is not about playing your natural game sometimes, specially when you have Yuvi and me batting at four and five, at times you have to keep shuffling in the sense if Yuvi gets into bat early then I have to keep myself for the end because we don't really want to take chances. Of course, we were doing a bit of gambling and we were planning things in a different way but everything worked out.

NDTV: In the finals, Mahi, you felt that perhaps you gave your wicket away too cheaply? Was there a bit of a disappointment there because both you and Yuvi lost your wickets easily in that very critical game?

Dhoni: It's not about easy, you know. They bowled well and you have to get runs. After fifteen, sixteenth over you look to score and at times when you look for the big hit you tend to get out like I did with a big inside edge. So, things like these happen but they don't bog you down, specially when you know you have guys who will perform, like Rohit who maybe batting after me but he has capabilities of being a good batsmen.

NDTV: Mahi, it was very unusual to see you with your shirt off after the victory. Was that a spontaneous gesture?

Dhoni: There was a nice little kid looking at me, waving at me. I was seeing the crowd and he looked a bit different so I went upto him and gifted him the shirt so that was how it was, nothing out of emotions.

NDTV: You have a big responsibility on your shoulders now, you have to captain the Indian one day side. (Are you) looking forward to that?

Dhoni: Well of course, it will be exciting, it will be tough. We are playing the Australians at home, specially a home series after winning the Twenty20 World Cup should be exciting and we are playing in India after a long time, after four months at least, so it will be good.

Home support will definitely help me and there are senior players in the side who I can look for support. There will also be Yuvi and Bhajji and so basically it is a good side and I don't think I will have to work hard on this job on this trip.

NDTV: The news actually came while you were there, while you were on tour that you were selected. Was it a surprise, did it come like a bolt from the blue?

Dhoni: I don't really think about the future and I was at that time busy with the 20/20 captainship so it really doesn't matter. I was acting as a captain in the 20-/20 so it gave me exposure at the International level and I think that is one thing which will really help me in the coming series.

NDTV: One of the things that Rahul Dravid said when he gave up the captaincy was that it is a very high pressure job and that it really takes its toll. Have you started to feel that pressure or is that a concern for you at all?

Dhoni: Well it has just been five matches and that too 20/20 and specially when the team is doing well I am not really that concerned or clear about the future, of course being captain of the Indian team is a tough task.

NDTV: Have you had a chance to speak to your family after the match?

Dhoni: Not really in a big way.

NDTV: And you'll probably go straight from here to Bangalore so no real break there either?

Dhoni: Well definitely I will miss home but after the Australian series, I will get back home and spend some time with my family and my dogs.

NDTV: Thank you, many congratulations and thank you for speaking to NDTV.

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