Players jaded but Dhoni hopeful of defending World T20 title

Players jaded but Dhoni hopeful of defending World T20 title

 Indian cricket team sit for a photo session in Mumbai on Friday before leaving for the ICC T20 World Cup. PTI

Dhoni also said the just-concluded Indian Premier League extravaganza in South Africa was more beneficial for his side because it provided players with exposure and helped them to learn coping with the pressure of an international event.

"I am happy with the balance in our squad.
Hopefully, we can defend out title," a jaded-looking Dhoni told reporters at a press conference here.

"When you play so many matches you do get tired, after all its a human body, but it (IPL) helped us a lot in terms of exposure and skills. So it was more beneficial for us," he said.
"It's very important to cope with the pressure in international events specially in the Twenty20 where you do not get time to recover and IPL helped the players handle that well," he added.
Dhoni also said he did not feel the need of a pre-tournament camp after the IPL drill.

"It's not important to have a camp (when you have already got enough practice in match conditions)," he said.

"It's more about handling the pressure and how to cope with that and they have learnt it in IPL. Playing to our potential is very important," Dhoni said.
Mahendra Singh DhoniThe Indian skipper also admitted that paceman Zaheer Khan, recuperating from a shoulder injury, was still not fully fit but said he expected the bowler to be available for selection soon.
"I am hoping that he will available for the first match," he said.

The 27-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman said injuries were part and parcel of the game and it was up to an individual to maintain their fitness for the highest level of cricket.

"Fatigue is a part of Indian cricket. Till now Indian players have done well with it. It's about conscious level of players that what they need to do at this level to sustain," he said.
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," he said.
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".

Dhoni said he had a lot of bowling options but post-IPL part-timers would also play a key role in his strategy.
"We have lot of options, of course Zaheer is not fit but we hope him to play in the first match and we have talents like Praveen Kumar, RP, Irfan Pathan and the best part is all of them can bowl with the new ball and can contribute with the old ball as well. We have the trust and belief in each other," he said.
"Harbhajan Singh has been an asset for us, even in the last world cup he took a lot of pressure and performed well. I feel he is a sort of player who likes pressure as it helps him to get the best out of him.
"We will use him in the first six overs and in the last overs as well and not only with the ball he is also a decent slogger in the end, so he can contribute with bat as well.

"It can do a lot of good to us. We can work on our combination and gather the kind of momentum and strike from the start and Pakistan is a very good side specially in T20 and so I feel it will help us.
Dhoni said batsman had become more innovative and aggressive in the Twenty20 format which adds on to the pressure on bowlers.
"We've seen shots which we've not  seen when this format was not there. This adds on to the pressure on bowlers... Batsmen are now more innovative and aggressive. But what have changed now is that they know it's important to build up and they don't go smashing from the word go, there will be more changes in the game with the time," he felt.

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