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HindustanTimes Mon,14 Jul 2014

Cricket

'It's a long grind ahead, but we won't look too far into the future'
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, August 16, 2012
First Published: 23:48 IST(16/8/2012)
Last Updated: 01:14 IST(17/8/2012)

Around 12 months ago, India capitulated in England, resulting in humiliating defeats across formats and they eventually surrendered the crown of the No 1 Test side.

However, this time, as yet another gruelling season beckons, the skipper says his side has learnt the lessons.

The team has gained in confidence after a 4-1 series victory in the one-day series in Sri Lanka, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Thursday that the team was prepared, physically and mentally, to face the challenges.

Speaking at an event to unveil the jersey for the T20 format, Dhoni threw light on the team's preparedness for the long season ahead, saying, "The one-and-half-month off was crucial from the physical and mental aspect."

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Highlighting the effort put in, Dhoni added, "Even during the series in Sri Lanka we had time in between games where we put a lot of emphasis on fitness and it was good to see the way the guys responded."

India's home season starts against New Zealand with two Tests and two T20s followed by the World T20 in Sri Lanka next month after which England, Pakistan and Australia will tour the country, keeping the Men in Blue busy till March 2013.

Dhoni admitted the calendar was taxing as they would be in action till the next IPL, but said the team was planning for 15 days only.

Comeback man Yuvraj Singh was also present and the sight of the Punjab all-rounder in India colours is bound to bring cheer to Indian fans.

The man of the tournament in the 2011 World Cup has been selected for the T20 games against New Zealand and World T20. "I am feeling good. It has been a tough two months' training at the NCA but I never thought I would be able to make a comeback," said Yuvraj.

Dhoni also spoke on Yuvraj's return. "He is an important character in the team, not only when it comes to cricketing skills but also in the dressing room. The dressing room is a bit boring without Yuvraj but now it will be livelier again."


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