Team is Mentally and Physically Fit for Long Season: Dhoni

Mumbai, Aug 17 (PTI): The Indian cricketers are geared up for the long season ahead and are both physically and mentally ready for the packed calendar, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Thursday.

"The team is all fit from the physical and mental aspects. The one and a half months break (after last IPL) was very good from the physical and mental aspect.

"Even on the tour of Sri Lanka (where the team played five ODIs and a lone T20 game against the hosts) we had breaks between each game. We are quite ready for the packed season ahead," said Dhoni at the launch of a new national T20 jersey by the Indian Cricket Board`s apparel sponsors Nike.

"Slowly we will get into the Test format now and then the T20s. There is lot of cricket ahead ending with the IPL. We have to look ahead every 15 days," he said.

Dhoni was referring to the start of the first home series of the season - against New Zealand - beginning with the Test match at Hyderabad on August 23. The visitors will play one more Test at Bangalore before ending their tour with two T20 Internationals at Vizag and Chennai.

This will be followed by the ICC World T20 Championship in Sri Lanka from September 18 to October 7. The season will continue with the visit by England and Australia before the IPL.

Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Irfan Pathan, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma were the other Indian cricketers present at the launch of the new T20 jersey for Team India.

Dhoni also said that with the return of Yuvraj in the team, the dressing room atmosphere will become very lively once again.

"When Yuvraj was not there Virat had taken upon that job. We missed Yuvraj as a character in the dressing room apart from his batting skills. With him being back the atmosphere in the dressing room will become livelier again," he remarked.

Yuvraj, who has recovered from a rare germ cell cancer, said he had trained hard at the NCA in Bangalore for the last two months and was feeling good but a bit nervous too after the long break from cricket.

"I am feeling good. I have worked hard for the last two months. I am nervous. I never thought I will get another chance (to play for India). I feel as if it is the first game for me," said Yuvraj who has been chosen in the Indian team for the series against New Zealand and the World T20.

Talking about the new T20 jersey, Dhoni remarked in a lighter vein that he did not know whether the research that has gone into it would translate into extra runs for the team.

"Lots of research has gone into it. I don`t know whether the research will result in extra runs but we will definitely feel more comfortable.

"This is a very good start. When people are swapping channels they see white and immediately know it is Test cricket and blue with One Day cricket. Now that we have a T20 shirt there will be a strong association between the format and the T-shirt," said the captain.

Key features of the uniform include the new collar, a dash of tricolour near the left shoulder and three stars above the BCCI`s logo signifying the three World Cup victories.

Sehwag said that the non-sweaty nature of the jersey would help the cricketers in the hot and humid conditions in South India and Sri Lanka.

"When I wear the india colours I have to give my best. That`s what I always focus on. The jersey also has the colour of the national flag on it (along with blue) which is close to my heart. Makes it very special," Sehwag said.

Pathan said the new jersey felt lighter than the ones he had worn earlier.

"Pretty stylish. Colour and design are eye-catching," said Kohli about the jersey.


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