We have potential to win the World Cup: Dhoni

MUMBAI: Weighed down by the pressure of expectations four years ago, the Indian squad crashed out of the World Cup at the preliminary stage itself but current captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni is confident his team would handle the burden better in the upcoming mega-event.

"We take pressure as an added responsibility. We will stick to the basics and prepare well. We have the potential to do well in the tournament. For a change we will not be the underdogs," said Dhoni at a promotional event.

The Ranchi-born wicket-keeper batsman, however, refused to predict whether India will go on and regain the coveted crown after a gap of 28 years.

"I never predict what will happen in cricket. We believe in each other and we believe in the process. We will take each game in the right frame of mind," said Dhoni ahead of India’s campaign in the February 19-April 2 showpiece event.

Dhoni brushed aside concerns about India’s opening match against co-hosts Bangladesh in Dhaka after what had happened in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies when the Rahul Dravid-led side got knocked out following a shock defeat at the hands of their eastern neighbours.

"The past is past. I am more optimistic than you," he said referring to the lung-opener against Bangladesh on February 19.

Dhoni refused to agree with England batsman Kevin Pietersen, who criticised the World Cup schedule for long gaps between matches and preferred to look at it as an opportunity to recover from niggles and relax.

"I don’t know about other sports but we criticise a lot in cricket. When we have tight schedule we say there’s too much cricket and when there are gaps we say there’s too little. It’s difficult to prepare a perfect schedule," Dhoni said.

"We would utilise these breaks to relax and get over whatever niggles we have," he added.

India play their second match in Group B, against England at Bangalore, eight days after they kick off the mega-event in Dhaka against Bangladesh.

Later on, Dhoni and his men play three matches in close succession – against Ireland, the Netherlands and South Africa – between March 6 and 12 and in different centres, all at home.

Pietersen had criticised the scheduling of the tournament in the British media.

"How can the England team play once and then in six days’ time play again, and then in six days’ time play again. It’s ridiculous but there’s nothing we can do about the schedules," the England player was quoted as having said.

Dhoni also did not agree to the view reportedly expressed by 1983 World Cup-winning team member Mohinder Amarnath that the Indian squad should have had a frontline left-arm spin bowler.

"Its difficult to accommodate everyone. One can say there is no second wicket-keeper too. For me the 15 players selected would have an impact on the World Cup," the Indian captain retorted.(PTI)

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