India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the team has put behind its disastrous performance in England and is looking for a new start as the first Test of the three-match series against the West Indies starts in New Delhi on Sunday.
Dhoni said it was not the ideal time to look back at the English summer, when they were not only dislodged from the No.1 spot in Tests but also failed to win a single match during the series.
“Injuries played a crucial part in England. There is no good reason why we should look back at the series. It is all about being in the present. We should look ahead and prepare for the future,” Dhoni told reporters on the eve of the match at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground here.
Dhoni said the Test series against the West Indies marks the start of the process to get back the No.1 ranking.
“We don’t have to bother too much about the rankings. We just have to do well to get back to the top. It is the process to get back to the top spot that we should think about. This series is just the start of the process,” said Dhoni.
Dhoni also said there is no lack of motivation to do well against the West Indies, who are ranked seventh in Tests.
Asked whether the series is a warm-up for the tougher tour to Australia, Dhoni said: “We are not looking beyond this series. There is still some time left for the Australia tour. Let us get over this series and then we would think about Australia.”
Dhoni also said that there could be two-three debutants in the match. Spinners Ravichandran Ashwin, Rahul Sharma and fast bowler Umesh Yadav could make their debut against the West Indies.
Contrary to common belief, Dhoni said the young bowlers have been exposed to international cricket and backed them to do well against the Caribbean side.
“The bowlers, who will be selected, have already been exposed to international cricket because they have played in ODIs. I don’t think they will really get excited. A bit of Indian Premier League (IPL) has also helped them. I hope that they will do their job for the team,” he said.
Asked about the Kotla track, Dhoni said: “Initially it won’t turn much but as the game progresses the spinners will get some assistance from it.”
Dhoni also said that the team was not thinking too much about Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th international century.
“It is a milestone that Sachin will get it if not in this match then in the next. It is bound to happen. So rather than discussing too much about the milestone the team has decided that let him achieve it and then we would celebrate it,” he said.
Dhoni also paid tribute to former India captain Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who passed away in September.
“He was a legendary cricketer and an aggressive captain. It is a great loss for Indian cricket,” Dhoni said.