MUMBAI, Feb 2(TOI): With his customary cool demeanour, a relaxed MS Dhoni oozed loads of confidence as he welcomed the tag of his team being home favourites for the World Cup.
"For a change we won't be considered underdogs," he smiled and said before moving on a serious note to add, "Usually we have been playing under pressure and that has been a part of Indian cricket. But for the last few years, we have changed the meaning of pressure into added responsibility. We are looking at the tournament in a positive way. We will stick to the basics and hope to do well. We have got the potential." Dhoni was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of Sony Bravia, on Tuesday.
England batsman Kevin Pietersen's had criticized the long drawn out schedule of the World Cup recently, but the Indian captain feels it can't be helped. "We do criticize a lot in cricket especially when we lose. We quickly say 'too much cricket'. Here in this case, we perhaps need to have a perfect balance, which is a difficult task and the line is very thin. This issue will always be raised. Either the schedule will be cramped or too spread out, you just cannot have a perfect one.
"As far as we are concerned we will be looking to play our best eleven and ensure that we do not miss out on our main players due to injuries. We will try and utilize the gaps in the schedule in the best possible manner. It will help our players relax and take care of niggles and injuries."
The man who led India to the famous World Twenty20 triumph in South Africa in 2007 also chose to play down talk of the team's 2007 World Cup debacle in the West Indies.
"It's a negative way of looking at things. I am optimistic. That was 2007. The past is past. You look to make a fresh start when you go on the field," said Dhoni, dismissing any inhibitions the team might have of facing Bangladesh in Dhaka in the tournament-opener.
India had suffered a shocking defeat at the hands of Bangladesh in the 2007 World Cup.
The 29-year-old wicketkeeper-bat also cast away thoughts of home pressure weighing on his team and the fears of a backlash if the team fails to do well. "We are ready to perform well. We are not thinking about what if we don't succeed. We are going to take each game with a positive frame of mind. We hope to do well in the tournament," he said.
Dhoni also refused to be drawn into the debate of the 15 chosen for the meet saying. "I hope we won't come to a situation where we will need a second wicketkeeper.
Besides, we wanted more options. About who could have been in the side is something that will always be a question of discussion." Now that his team is set, is India ready to rock? "No predictions!" exclaimed Dhoni but assured, "We'll give it our best shot."
No V-Day gift for Sakshi?
The recently married MS Dhoni may not get a chance to gift something to his wife Sakshi this Valentine Day as the team will be busy training for the World Cup that begins on February 19.
When asked if he will present her with a TV set that he's chosen to endorse, Dhoni quipped, "She's accompanied me on tours and I have also taken her around for shopping, but she won't be there with me during the World Cup so I can focus hard on the game. As for the TV as a gift, she's already got one like this."