Dhoni hopeful of retaining World T20 title

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/d/dhonisl11.jpg' class='caption'> MS Dhoni on Friday said he was hopeful of retaining the World Twenty20 title with a balanced team having some outstanding talent.

Updated: May 30, 2009 16:59 IST
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Beaming with confidence, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Friday said he was hopeful of retaining the World Twenty20 title with a balanced team having some outstanding talent.

Dhoni also said his team was not under pressure as the defending champions as they leave for the second edition of the prestigious event, beginning in England on June 5.

"We have a very balanced side, very strong in batting. We bat right down to 8 or 9. This is not to say we lack in bowling. We have a strong bowling attack too," he told reporters in a pre-departure match conference.

"We have some outstanding talents in our team and we need to focus on playing to our potential without worrying about the result. We have to give 100 per cent and hopefully we can defend the title," the flamboyant wicketkeeper-batsman said.

Dhoni, however, admitted that his players were tired after the hectic IPL schedule in South Africa but said the Twenty20 extravaganza had only helped the players hone their skills ahead of the World Cup.

"When you play so many matches you do get tired, after all it's a human body, but it (IPL) helped us a lot in terms of exposure and skills. So it was more beneficial for us.

"There was no time to rest for the players. But fatigue is a part of Indian cricket. Till now Indian players have done well with it," he said.

Dhoni also said he was pleased with the fact that he had plenty of options with regards to non-regular bowlers, especially in spin department and that all his players have the experience of handling pressure by playing in the IPL.

"We have plenty of options with our part time bowlers, especially spinners. We have Rohit Sharma and Yuvraj Singh who have taken hat-tricks in the IPL. We also have Suresh Raina. Yusuf Pathan is there too," he said.

"International cricket is about handling pressure situations well and the team that handles pressure better would do well.

"We have someone like Ravindra Jadeja with limited international experience but with high talents. He has played against some top fast bowlers and spinners in the IPL and has learned to handle pressure," he added.

The 27-year-old Indian skipper was not too concerned about the team's opening combinations in both batting and bowling when queried about the indifferent forms of opening batsmen Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir and bowlers Ishant Sharma and an injured Zaheer Khan.

"I am not at all worried. Both the openers (batsmen) are very talented. As regards opening bowling combination we have not yet decided who will do it. You have seen spinners too opening the bowling in the IPL. Teams have to take gambles," he said.

Dhoni said the team members would have to make best use of the days they have at their disposal after reaching England prior to Indias opening match.

"It's good we have warm-up games against tough sides like New Zealand and Pakistan. We also have practice sessions and need to make use of these," he said.

Dhoni confident that good cricket-playing wickets would be in evidence during the competition that ends on June 21.

"The wickets would be helpful to swing bowlers in England and would also help spinners. I am confident that for a tournament of this stature good wickets would have been prepared," he said.

Dhoni also brushed aside concerns that the team would be fatigued by now after playing non-stop cricket since the tour to New Zealand earlier this year and the IPL.

"We are all used to it by now. I came into international cricket in 2004 and have slowly got used to it. The weather in India is such that we can play cricket almost right through the year at various parts of the country. It's not a concern."

Asked which team would be the biggest challenge for Indians, Dhoni said everyone will have their chances.

"No team is a dark horse, everyone will have his chances. It's just that if we have one bad day, we can be beaten by a weak team also. So every game will be important for us."

Dhoni was urged Indian fans to accept whatever fate they meet in the tournament, saying "We get appreciated like anything when we do good and criticised when we go wrong. But you have to accept whatever is the result".

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