Millennium Post

Hoping to be here for World Cup final: MSD

Hoping to be here for World Cup final: MSD
Back at the helm after retiring from Tests, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday said his team will look for an encore when they start their title defence at the World Cup beginning next month. “We would definitely like to repeat our performance from 2011. But the change in conditions will be a factor and we will have to play accordingly,” Dhoni said at the launch of the team’s new ODI kit designed by team-sponsor Nike for the upcoming season.

“The MCG is one of the best venues in world cricket, irrespective of the format. We will aim to do better than we have done in ODI format over the last couple of years and hopefully we will be back to play the World Cup final on March 29,” he added.

The bugle for the ODI season in Australia has been sounded as for the next two-plus months, fifty-over cricket will take precedence over anything else, starting with the tri-series, involving India and England, followed by the 2015 World Cup. India’s first tri-series match is on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia, while Dhoni’s men will start their World Cup campaign on February 15 in Adelaide when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their first Pool B tie. Kohli, who has been in ominous form in the recent Test series against Australia, said he is looking forward to a good outing at the tri-series and World Cup.

“The mindset doesn’t change whether we are playing in whites or blue. Every game is important for me when I am representing the country. I have enjoyed the challenge of playing in Australian conditions and have enjoyed the response from the crowds as well. It was a good Test series for us.
Now I am eagerly looking forward to the tri-series and then the World Cup. Back to back WC wins will be a nice milestone for this young team. It will do nicely for the new colours that have been unveiled on Thursday. That’s what we are aiming for as a team, that’s what we want to achieve and we have the vision for it,” he added.

The team reached here on Wednesday and after enjoying a five-day rest post the Test series, the players were back in training. The day was used in limbering up and getting some fielding drills after which the customary game of football ensued.

Stays mum on test retirement

His shock Test retirement is still the talk of the town but India’s limited-overs cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni continued to stay mum about it, avoiding any queries on his stunning decision, here on Thursday. Dhoni retired after the third Test against Australia in Brisbane, citing the strain of playing all three formats of the game. However, that explanation could not stop speculation as stories floated about his troubled relationship with Team Director Ravi Shastri and star batsman Virat Kohli, who was eventually named captain of the Test team.

These stories were, however, vehemently denied by the BCCI and the team management. Face to face with the media for the first time after this, Dhoni merely sported a grin on being asked about the retirement and answered in monosyllabics on how he has spent his time post the shocker. “It has been good, a few days off,” was his only reply to a question on life after Test retirement, the closest that anybody could get on asking him about it,” Dhoni said.
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