The Telegraph
Saturday , March 29 , 2014
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A lot of things happen, but you must stay focused, says Dhoni

Rohit Sharma, in Dhaka

Dhaka/Calcutta: Mahendra Singh Dhoni hasn’t lost his sense of humour. Despite all the happenings back home, he hasn’t allowed anything to leave a mark on him.

On Friday after India confirmed their semi-final berth in the World T20, Dhoni was asked if he would answer questions outside the tournament. With the team’s media manager announcing it wasn’t possible, Dhoni quipped: “You can always go back and ask them… It’s only a 40 minute flight.”

Dhoni said a lot of factors has contributed to India’s success.

“A good dressing room atmosphere, having belief in oneself and enjoying each other’s success… A lot of things happen around cricket, but you must stay focused when you are representing your country. This is one thing this team has done really well… Of course, accepting the challenge and trying to prove that you are one of the best has also contributed to the success… But it’s all about the dressing room atmosphere and we have kept it really nice,” the Team India captain explained.

“We have given a very good performance so far... There are still some areas where we can improve. Fielding too has been good. We have dropped some catches, but other teams have dropped catches too… All teams are struggling when it comes to catches (in the deep).

“If our middle-order has not been tested, then it’s beyond our control. We can’t do much about it. Virat has batted well and so has Rohit. All we can do for them (the middle-order) is give them the priority in the next matches, send them up the order. We will see how it goes.”

Dhoni said he has no definite plans to come in at No. 4. “It will depend on the situation… Depend on the bowling attack… We will see how best we can use them with the kind of batsmen we have got. The good thing about our team is that we have got quite a few left-handers, so we can exploit that.

“We will see who are the bowlers, whether the wicket is turning or not or what kind of fast bowlers the opposition has got… Depending on that we will see who are the batsmen best suited and will promote them.”

Like the batting order, Dhoni felt the bowlers who will bowl in the death still remains undecided. “We will see what is the kind of help the bowlers are getting... In today’s match you saw, one side of the boundary was quite small compared to the other. So we will have to exploit all that. Among the fast bowlers, Bhuvi has done quite well for us. Shami is struggling a bit... But overall they are the ones who have done well consistently in the past one year.

“I decide the bowling changes on the field. Today I wanted to start with fast bowlers, but once Bhuvi bowled the first over, I decided not to bring in Shami. I wanted to use Ashwin from the other end. I think in this format, you have to be flexible.”

But what has made the difference this time? “Well, I think the bowlers are getting some kind of a help... We have struggled in limited-overs format — both T20 and 50 overs — on wickets which are good to bat on and which don’t support the spinners… That means even the part-timers have struggled in those few overs apart from Raina in the sub-continental conditions.”

Man of the Match Ashwin believes the conditions have made his task easier. “I love challenges and always want to give my best. I’m looking forward to the next few games… A few difficult matches coming up now. I would be more than happy to contribute to the team’s cause… We have played excellent cricket today and there’s nothing to worry about.”