Dhoni lauds team sans superstars
"Each and every guy is enjoying himself...There are no superstars in this team," says the overjoyed captain.Updated: Sep 23, 2007 18:30 IST
India may not have superstars in their ranks, but new captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni believes that the team's success in the Twenty20 World Cup has been because of individuals who have played their part in building up a cohesive unit.
India stunned Australia by 15 runs to set up a dream final with arch-rivals Pakistan on Monday.
"Every win is important. This is a new team and it is a huge stage. This is the first Twenty20 World Cup. The teams we have beaten here are strong teams. Every match has been a do or die match for us, it has been quite exhausting and there has been a lot of tension.
"Each and every guy is enjoying himself, not just his own success but also each others' performances. There are no superstars in this team," said Dhoni after leading India to one of its biggest achievements in the cricketing field in recent times. <b1>
The new skipper was full of praise for S Sreesanth's brilliant spell and getting the key wickets of Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden. "Sreesanth lifted his game when it mattered. That's what the need of the team is. He needs to click at the right time, which he did today. I would love it for him to perform in the same way in the final too."
Dhoni revealed that Harbhajan Singh had himself volunteered to bowl the crucial 18th over when Australia needed 30 runs in the last 3 overs. "He wanted the responsibility, he wanted the ball because he had the confidence. And he got us a wicket (Michael Clarke)."
On bowling Joginder Sharma in the last over, he said, "I thought of bowling him at the end, when the batsmen were also under pressure, and see how they handle him. He is not the quickest, but he has the quality and he proved it today."
Looking ahead to the dream final against Pakistan, Dhoni made it clear that India's bowl-out win in the first phase will now have no meaning. "That is immaterial now. This is the biggest stage, a World Cup final. India vs Pakistan in Johannesburg, where there will be huge support for both teams. It could be very exciting and the pressure will be immense, but not on us. It is a match that needs to be played with intense intensity.
"But there is no point in taking additional pressure because it can bring down the confidence of a player and affect his performance. We are playing each other more frequently of late, so the teams are getting used to each other and are aware of the respective strategies."
Asked what Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly would be thinking back home after deciding to skip this tournament, Dhoni said, "I am sure if they had been here, they would have taken us to the final. If we do win the final, they I can say that they couldn't have done more than what his team has done. The way we have performed has been amazing."
Dhoni said there are few other promising players back home who were the bench strength of Indian cricket. "The playing in this tournament, plus a few guys back home like Suresh Raina, Manoj Tiwari and S Badrinath, as well as a couple of other players, they are our bench strength. Till I am the captain of the side, I won't predict or say anything about outcomes.
"We will play every match as a one-off match, as a one-off series. Every game is a crucial game. It is important that we play according to our own expectation levels. We should go to the dressing room each day knowing that we gave it our best shot every single time, irrespective of whether we have won or we have lost."
First Published: Sep 23, 2007 15:14 IST