The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 7 , 2014
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Fortunate to be where I am now, says Dhoni

New Delhi: Mahendra Singh Dhoni considers himself fortunate to be where he is after “playing that amount of cricket.”

On Monday, at a promotional here for Ashok Leyland, the Team India captain, reminded of his 2012 statement about giving up at least one format of the game before the 2015 World Cup, said: “I don’t really know… Let time takes its toll… I am fortunate to be where I am right now after playing that amount of cricket.

“Now, I think I have reached a point of no return with the World Cup literally one year away... It won’t give the new guy 80-90 games before the World Cup. I understand the pressure… so, we have to go through it.

“As of now, it’s looking good and my body is also in good shape. How it will be in the end, I don’t know, but so far so good...”

It was back in January 2012, that Dhoni, during India’s tour of Australia, had hinted he might have to stop playing at least one format of the game.

“If I want to see the 2015 World Cup, I’ll have to retire from one of the formats,” he had said then. “It’s too early right now. I am not that old. I am just 30. There is still time. We will see by 2013, and by 2013, I mean the end of 2013.”

At that time, Dhoni had not even ruled out the possibility of not even making it to the 2015 World Cup. “I will take it as the time comes. What I really meant was by 2013, I would have to see where I stand when it comes to my body, whether I will be able to survive until the 2015 World Cup. Of course form is a factor,” he had said.

With just over a year left for the 2015 World Cup to start, the India captain now seems ready to lead India to their title defence.

Dhoni, on Monday, was nostalgic while talking about his youth. “You know, Ranchi was still a small town… we used to play lots of tournaments in the nearby colliery towns like Dhanbad.

“There was hardly any mode of transport, so we used to hitch hike on trucks. It was not easy but we learnt a lot those days.”

Talking about the team that he is leading now, he said Indian bowlers were capable of winning matches, but they would have to learn to take wickets on unfavourable tracks.

Asked to name five bowlers, who would shine in the forthcoming tour of New Zealand, Dhoni said: “We have got enough talent… There are bowlers who can get the opposition out by taking 20 wickets. But we need to do better on unhelpful wickets.”

Dhoni, while talking to the media on the sidelines of the event, said Indian bowlers had done exceptionally well on helpful tracks.

“But outside India, at times, we have to hit the deck to get wickets, and that goes completely against what our bowlers bowl... At the same time, when the pitch is helpful we have to make sure we get all the 20 wickets,” he said.

Dhoni also reminded about the responsibility of the batsmen. “The batsmen also have to score runs… There were series where they have not,” he said.

Talking about the recently-concluded series in South Africa, Dhoni said one bad session in the Durban Test cost India the series. “I don’t think it was a bad series. In the last couple of series abroad, before South Africa, things were worse than this,” he pointed out.

“But in South Africa, the good thing was that we at least knew we had some good players. We had lot of good sessions in South Africa. Just one bad session forced us to finish on the losing side.

“It’s a process where we will have to improve… the fact that now we will be continuously playing out of India will give more exposure to the players.

“Most players of this side have not played may be more than five Test matches outside India. I know they will take some time, but the overall performance was good,” said the captain.

After losing the one-day series, India also lost the two-Test series when they went down in the Durban Test. The first Test ended in an exciting draw.

Asked what he had to say to Sunil Gavaskar’s recent comment that Indian players lacked the killer instinct, Dhoni quipped: “We should carry an AK47 with a grenade launcher…”