Captain MS Dhoni was relaxed on the eve of Sunday’s World T20 final against Sri Lanka as he spoke with media on subject ranging from recent controversies, his equanimity in pressure situations and Virat Kohli’s prolific form. Excerpts from the press conference.
On if India will have a psychological advantage over the Lankans
“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.
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“Sri Lanka is a very good side with a fantastic track record. They have got spinners who are exactly suited to this surface. They have a mix of youth and experience. Along with Mahela, Sanga and Malinga, they have also got youngsters like Angelo Mathews.
“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.
“It is important for us to play well in the final and not think about the rest of the things. Winning World Cup for the country is more important than thinking about the other stuff.”
On his leadership and the ‘Captain Cool’ sobriquet
“That’s not really for me to decide because from outside, you can judge it better than me. I have been given the responsibility and I try to fulfil it to the best of my potential. At the same time, as an individual, you will make mistakes and as a captain, I feel it is very important that if you commit a mistake, you go out there and admit it.”
“You can try to be honest to yourself, read the game and decide something. If it doesn’t work, you stand up and take the responsibility because that’s what your job needs you to do.
“I was not always a calm person during my growing up years. I also did not like to lose. When I was younger, I found it hard to control my emotions and it used to be difficult for me. But then over a period of time, I learnt to control my emotions. There are situations in a match, where you can be tempted to take a decision based on emotions but then you need to think practically also.”
On Virat Kohli
“Every individual is very different. Certain players play in a different way. Virat is somebody who is very different if you compare him to someone like a Rohit Sharma or a Yuvraj Singh or a Suresh Raina. That’s how you build the character of a side. He has done fantastically well in the last few years.
“I feel he has been someone who has grabbed the opportunity to the best of his potential. More often than not, you will see individuals, if they get five games, they will talk about if I get two more games, I would have done something. But if you see Virat, the very first game he gets as an opportunity, he grabs it with both hands. I am talking about his initial years and there were 3-4 games where he got out after a good start — scored close to 60, 65, 70 runs and got out.
“He was really disappointed with himself and wanted to improve on that. Because of all those reasons, today you see him as a consistent performer, somebody who doesn’t throw his wicket. At the same time, scoring at a pace which is very difficult to match by some of the other individuals, yet he plays very authentic cricketing shots.”
On India’s multi-dimensional players.
“The players who play for India are multi-dimensional. And if you see the current T20 squad, there are one or two, whom you could say are T20 specialists. Other than that, most of the other players are good at playing all the other formats also.
“In a way, it helps us, but at the same time, the negative side is throughout the year, we constantly play cricket and the same set of players are playing all the international matches. The same players also go back and play the IPL. A congested international calendar is what we go through.”