Set to embark on a short tour of Sri Lanka, Team Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said that it was important for his team to begin the new season on a good note by performing well in the ODI series.
Dhoni said that a good series against Sri Lanka would also be a confidence booster for the Twenty20 World Cup to be held in September-October in the same country.
India play five one-dayers and one-off Twenty20 International against Sri Lanka starting July 21.
"It's hectic schedule but as professionals we have to maintain our standard. We will play in different venues and travelling will also be there. It's the start of the season and we want to start it on a good note," Dhoni told reporters ahead of the team's departure tomorrow.
"Sri Lanka is not a new place for us. We have played series there at least once each year and even twice in a year. Conditions are also not so different from India and acclimatising to conditions will not be difficult," he said.
"This Sri Lanka series is good for us. We have to come back in Sri Lanka again for the Twenty20 World Cup. It will help us," he added.
Asked to comment on the role of a captain in improving performance, Dhoni said, "I don't want to name an international team. But if you are made captain of Alaska team it will be very difficult to win matches. A captain's job is to channelise the resources. The individual reactions are also important.
"How the bowlers performed and how the batsmen build partnerships are important. Without a good team it's difficult to achieve success," said Dhoni. Dhoni talked about the hectic schedule of the Indian players but said that as professionals they have to play to win each and every match.
"The first break we got was in 2007 after I started playing for the country in 2004. Breaks in between are necessary and a bit of break between the seasons will do a world of good. It would be difficult to have one and half months rest before each series," Dhoni said.
"Next year, there is bit of a gap between each and every series. That is a good sign for us. This is the longest break that we have got during the last five years and it is not possible to get such breaks often," he added.
He said the team was working on improving in all the three departments of the game which, he said, would also be important for the Twenty20 World Cup. "I can't discuss the team strategy here but we have to improve in all the three departments of the game. We are also doing specific fielding practices and we want to improve in fielding," Dhoni said.
"Now most of the players have come back after a long break and the body looks very different and their fielding and other activities look very different. We will make the most of the rests that we have got.
"Since the last few days since we have assembled here we have been practicing hard and had fairly long sessions. We also got specific sessions. We look forward to be successful in the coming series," said Dhoni.
Coach Duncan Fletcher conceded that India had a difficult time last season but said he was hoping for a turnaround this year.
"It was a difficult season if you consider the three or four big tours that India undertook. After that I had come over here after the IPL and have been talking to Dhoni and other officials. I have certainly discussed the aspects with them and I do not think it is necessary for me to talk about it in this forum.
"Hopefully sometimes the things turn around. Look, the players have come back after a break and look a very good team for the moment. There is lot of intensity in what they do. Hopefully they can maintain it and turn the results around," Fletcher said.
Asked what specific areas the team needs to work, Fletcher said, "I think you have to work on every area. It is very important how they work to improve upon. We are going to Sri Lanka and would be returning after about four weeks and then going again for Twenty20 World Cup. So, we have to work on every area for good results.
"I have got good response from the players. Everyone seems to enjoy the inputs that I have brought into the side. I have also really enjoyed working with them," he said, when asked about how much he has adjusted to Indian culture.
On the meeting with the Board President N Srinivasan today, he said, "I had a couple of meetings with the President of the Board. I had a meeting during the IPL final and I had a meeting with him this morning. From my point of view I think the meetings went on very well and I do not think we can discuss the details in this forum. "We had a good chat this morning for about an hour and a half. Hopefully from my point of view everyone accepted certain views and how we need see what is happening in the future."
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