The Telegraph
Tuesday , December 25 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dhoni eyeing a fresh start

Bangalore: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni feels the players need to perform if India are to win the series against Pakistan.

At the press conference, Dhoni said that the teams are evenly balanced and the outcome of the series will depend on which team plays better cricket on a given day.

The following are excerpts

Their preparations for the series

It’s difficult for a player to prepare for this sort of series, especially after playing a four-Test series. But the two T20 games against England helped us to get into the groove. You have to be a bit unorthodox and try a few different things when you are playing in this format because it is slightly different. We have often seen that sides use one-off T20 games as a warm-up game. There are a few sides that have very different teams for each format. There are T20 specialists who play only T20 matches, but if it’s a one-off game, they might not fly down those specialists. At least two games give some time to adjust to the format.

Whether it is advantage Pakistan, considering their bowling strength

What’s important is how good you look on paper, it’s about how the individual reacts to a situation. I think that the teams are evenly placed. It will be important to see how individuals perform and what kind of a platform they set for each other. It will be important that the players make themselves count. The part-timers also need to contribute at the same time. So overall, both teams are well balanced and the team that plays better will win.

If it will be difficult to regroup after losing the last match (against England) off the last ball

It will be a fresh start… T20 teaches you to forget about the result. When you are playing a T20 match, you cannot get stuck with the outcome of a match. In every two days, you have a game. This format always produces very close finishes… We have seen that a lot of games that finish off the last ball… So, you need to move on.

His advice to the fast bowlers, like Ashok Dinda, Shami Ahmed, Parvinder Awana

In order to advice, it is important to realise the talent of the youngsters. At the same time, you don’t really want to force anything on them. The domestic format is completely different from the international format. So, we always advice them to keep improving. The ideal target on the pitch

We don’t go in with a fixed target in mind. Our team’s strategy has always been to get off to a good start. In the first couple of overs, we analyse the situation. If there are bad balls, the batsmen look to play their shots. If we manage to get off to a good start in the first five or six overs, we then think what can be a good target at the end of the eighth over or the ninth over. In that way, we keep on revising our targets.

On controlling the emotions during the high-profile matches

This is an important series for the both teams. It is after quite sometime that we are playing a bilateral series. So the matches will be a bit tense. But both the teams will try to avoid any untoward incident, which could turn out to be a point of debate. But then, sometimes things happen in the heat of the moment. We will try to keep a lid on our emotions. In a nutshell, we will try to enjoy the game and also play tough cricket.

Whether the players are exhausted…

When such big series happens, you don’t have the opportunity to think of taking a break. Most of the times, we don’t even remember the dates because we know that we have to keep on playing. When you are representing your country, you have to give your best. But at times, if you are playing excessive cricket, the chances of getting injured increases. Then you decide to take a break.