India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni paid glowing tributes to Sri Lankan legends Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who will be calling time on their T20 International careers at the end of the ICC World T20 on Sunday.
Dhoni was asked if he could say a few words on the Lankan duo although his team will be aiming to spoil their farewell from the game’s shortest format.
“If we talk about the two individual gentlemen, they have served Sri Lankan cricket for a long time, through all the formats. The thing about T20s is it’s a new format. So everyone has the same experience, including people (youngsters) who have played from the start with them.
“Definitely, Lankans will miss their presence in the dressing room. Among themselves, the two I guess have played in excess of 650 ODIs and a lot of Tests. It’s a fair amount of experience and they will certainly miss that. But then every good thing comes to an end. They will have to get somebody to fill in the space,” Dhoni said.
However, he made it amply clear that the Indians were fully focused on the job at hand.
“Well, I don’t have anything personal against them (Jayawardene and Sangakkara). They are representing their country and we are representing ours. May the better team that plays better cricket on the day should be the winner.
“We want to concentrate only on that. We would like to concentrate on what kind of cricket we can play and what kind of cricket we have played so far in the tournament,” the skipper said.
Asked if they will have a psychological advantage as the Lankans have lost four ICC finals in recent times, Dhoni responded in negative.
“In this format, I don’t think psychological advantage will matter as the difference between good side and another side is narrow. All boils down to how a team plays on that particular day and how individuals respond to a particular situation.
“I think that’s all that will be crucial. I don’t personally believe a lot on stats. I would want to replicate what we have done throughout the tournament and I believe we have a very good chance.”
When someone asked him how was the mood back then in 2007 on the eve of their big final against Pakistan, Dhoni said in sarcastic tone, “Yaar chaar din pahle ki baat humein yaad nahin rahti aur aap saat saal pahle ki baat puch rahein ho (I don’t remember what happened four days back and you are asking me about what happened seven years back!)
“It is very difficult to recall as to what we felt just on the eve of that 2007 final. Obviously, I can say that there was a lot continued…