The Telegraph
Friday , March 28 , 2014
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India shut out chaos, focus only on cricket

- Dhoni jovial at practice as team prepares for Bangla test
Amit Mishra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar during a practice session, on Thursday

Dhaka: The walk from the nets adjoining the indoor training centre at the Mirpur stadium to the dressing room is quite a distance. Having had a decent knock, Mahendra Singh Dhoni packed his bags and decided to retire for the day after an impromptu tête-à-tête with Duncan Fletcher.

With Virat Kohli and Yuvraj Singh too joining in, the Team India captain got engaged in some leg-pulling, the latter being his target. A push of the shoulder was followed by some banter. While Yuvraj appeared dead serious, the lingering wry smile on Dhoni’s lips was not to be missed.

Even as the Supreme Court’s observations back home is sure to have widespread ramifications, Dhoni and Co. seemed alien to the happenings. Or was it an effort to put up a brave face in front of the media?

Despite attempts by the team’s media manager to desist the players from making a comment on the issue, Rohit Sharma appeared cool. “No, we haven’t discussed anything at all… Our focus is on the World T20,” clarified Rohit at the media conference.

But will the chaos in BCCI affect their performance in the World T20?

It was business as usual for the Indians during the afternoon session, though. A round of soccer was followed by the customary nets, before rounding it off with fielding practice under lights.

Dhoni knows well that only another World title or a consistent good showing will help the players. Any reversals will only add more fuel to the fire.

The Netherlands came very close to defeating South Africa on Thursday and it once again showcased that no team can be treated lightly. Moreover, Bangladesh have a record of upsetting India’s plans, the 2011 World Cup and the Asia Cup in 2012 being the cases in point.

“Don’t forget we were out of the World T20 in 2012 without losing a game,” Dhoni had reminded after the first match.

The Indians are not willing to take any chances this time. “Our first priority is to win the match and get the net run rate aspect out of the equation. If we win, net run rate will be automatically taken care of,” said Rohit.

For India it will be a matter of maintaining the momentum. Winning always helps in breeding confidence and they will do well to gather experience from the victories over Pakistan and the West Indies.

The conditions favour India hugely and that works to their advantage. The formula of playing five specialist bowlers, including three spinners, has clicked. That Dhoni managed to come out of the tried and tested method of including seven batsmen and four bowlers has paid dividends.

Bangladesh have been saddled with their own problems and it will take a massive effort to turn things around. Their players lack confidence, prompting captain Mushfiqur Rahim to admit that some players in the current team are “insecure about their places” and that has been the reason behind their recent debacles.