Important for us to start on a winning note: Dhoni

By Sirshendu Panth,IANS,

Dhaka : Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni Friday underscored the significance of beginning the 2011 cricket World Cup on a winning note and insisted that their defeat by Bangladesh four years ago did not even cross their minds ahead of their match Saturday.

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Dhoni said the Indians had picked up the intensity by winning the two warm-up matches and it was now “important for us to start the World Cup proper on a winning note”.

He said on the eve of the tournament opener, the team was not even thinking about the 2007 defeat simply because “we don’t want to repeat what happened”.

India had gone down to Bangladesh in their group game four years ago, leading to their early ouster from the tournament.

Asked about pacer Zaheer Khan’s groin injury, Dhoni said: “He is fit as of now, but I am yet to talk to the physio. If there is anything, we will let you know.”

Zaheer was later seen bowling at the nets.

Describing Bangladesh as a “good and balanced side”, he said: “It will be a good contest.”

Dhoni also praised the Bangladesh spinners. “All their three spinners are good. They have got two good partimers who can bowl off-spin and leg-spin. It’s a good side and a contributive side. In the sub-continent they rely a lot on their spinners and here they will get more assistance than anywhere else.”

Reiterating the importance of part-time bowlers in his scheme of things, Dhoni said: “In every game, they will play an important role. In both the warm-up games we have seen the importance of part-time bowlers. That job more often than not is done by Yuvraj (Singh). Also, there are one or two other bowlers who can contribute if needed. The fifth bowler’s role is very important.”

Asked about the difference between his side and the 2007 team, he said: “Some of the players are the same, the only difference is we are now in a better frame of mind. Talent wise it is much the same, only this team will be playing in home conditions.”

On his side’s batting composition, he said a lot depended on the seven batsmen who get selected in the final eleven “and whoever can perform to their potential and how well they can utilise the conditions. Most of them are floaters, and they can bat at any position”.

Dhoni also gave an open-ended answer when asked whether he would go for a single spinner or a double spin attack.

“Well that definitely is a big option. It will depend on how the wicket behaves,” he said.

Asked why India are rated as favourites, Dhoni said: “I think the last two years’ performance has contributed a lot. We have missed key players in ODIs and still done well. Maybe that is the reason why we are said to be favourites. The home conditions just add on to it,” he said.