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Dhoni hopeful of retaining IPL title

cricket Updated: Apr 06, 2011 22:54 IST

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A new-look Mahendra Singh Dhoni, shorn of hair following the World Cup triumph, looked forward to another conquest as captain of the Chennai Super Kings team who he believes has the firepower to retain the Indian Premier League (IPL) title.

The Super Kings, winners in 2010 along with the Champions League, have retained most of the players with the notable exception of the legendary off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan who was bought by Kochi Tuskers at the auction in January this year.

The IPL begins Saturday with Chennai Super Kings hosting Kolkata Knight Riders. The match is slated for an 8 pm start at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium.

“The new team is quite good. Like I always say, it’s not about how good the team looks on paper, but it’s what we do on the field that is very important.

“I always say that the fitness of the players is the key. Players do struggle during the course of the IPL. If all the players are available for selection, then it is a very good side.

“The batting line-up is as good as last year — Vijay, Badri, Raina, myself and Albie. Du Pless has come in, we have the all-rounders and Mr.Cricket (Mike Hussey) will also join us. Overall, it’s a very good batting line-up,” he said.

Regarding Muralitharan’s absence, Dhoni admitted the Sri Lankan would be missed.

Coach Stephen Fleming said: “With most of our players being in action during the ICC World Cup, lack of match practice will not be an issue. We are quietly confident of our prospects and will play like true champions.”