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Dhoni happy to win series without key players

More than breaking a long-standing jinx, Indian skipper MS Dhoni is happy with the fact that he led the side to a historic ODI series win in Sri Lanka in the absence of star players Tendulkar and Sehwag. Mission Sri Lanka

cricket Updated: Aug 30, 2008 16:19 IST

More than breaking a long-standing jinx, Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is happy with the fact that he led the side to a historic ODI series win in Sri Lanka in the absence of star players Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag.

Talking to reporters after his side lost the inconsequential fifth ODI against Sri Lanka on Friday night, Dhoni said the team did miss a few players but the youngsters responded well to fill in the vacuum.

"It is not about depending or not depending (on a few players). Of course it is an achievement but you can not just sit back on it and say we won the Twenty20 (World Cup), the tri-series in Australia or now here in Sri Lanka. You have to continue doing it," said Dhoni, insisting winning should be a habit for the side.

"If you have players like Sachin and Sehwag, it really helps in doing and achieving these things consistently. But it (their absence) is not really in control, because at times you will have injuries.

"We didn't have Ishant (Sharma), we didn't have Sachin and Veeru (Sehwag) who was in prime form. But it is upto other individuals to take up the responsibility, because there is no point in sitting and sulking about guys who are not there.

"They are the guys who are part of the 16 who can really make a difference and they were doing just that," Dhoni said, before adding "But of course you miss individuals, specially the great players."

Looking back, Dhoni said India negated the threat from Sri Lanka's two-pronged spin attack and played well in the 20-40 over stretch to win the series 3-2. "In the middle, it is very important to rotate strike and we have been able to do that. We have got the partnership. We have played the spinners well. We negotiated (Muttiah) Murali(tharan) well. I think we played him really well. It has been tough over the yearsto play Murali in Sri Lanka. I think we tackled (Ajantha) Mendis quite well too," Dhoni said.

"Overall, I was quite impressed by the way we performed from the 20th till the 40th over. Of course in some games we lost wickets and you arereally not in a position to do anything, but that is part and parcel (of the game)," he said.

Dhoni skipped the Test series due to fatigue and he said the break really helped him.

"I really enjoyed the break and the main thing is, I was enjoying the practice session more and it sets a good trend.

"You have to give 100 per cent there as well, you just can not bat for 20 minutes and go under the shade. When you feel from inside to go under the shade, that is the time when you realise your body needs a bit of rest.

"I was happy to get some rest, thanks to the selectors and the BCCI. When I came back here I really enjoyed the couple of sessions that I had in Bangalore. They were tough. It was skill-related and I really enjoyed the sessions. I was doing the keeping and batting and also enjoyed fielding," he said.

Dhoni also took the occasion and thanked the selectors for backing him.

"When you have the right side it helps. It is not about just randomly picking someone.The guys who have performed well in the domestic circuit and others have been picked up in the side," he said.