Cardiff : India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said Wednesday that Sri Lanka were a dangerous side and it was not possible to focus only on their two frontline batsmen ” Mahela Jayawardene or a Kumar Sangakkara” during the semi-final of the ICC Champions Trophy slated for Thursday.
“Sri Lanka are a dangerous squad. We just can`t focus on a Mahela (Jayawardene) or a (Kumar) Sangakkara. We have to think of the entire team,” Dhoni said after a training session on the eve of the match.
The two Asian rivals’ face-off here at the Sophia Gardens will be fifth in Britain. The only time India ended on the losing side was during a shocking defeat in the 1979 World Cup.
Dhoni said the team was under no pressure in the midst of the betting and the spot-fixing controversies in the Indian Premier League (IPL) back home.
“It’s the Indian media that creates all this hype and then asks me questions. As far as we are concerned, we have to play good cricket, we are working hard and just proving ourselves,” he said.
With rain clouds looming large over the match, Dhoni didn’t seem too bothered about the weather conditions.
But even if rain plays spoilsport, India will go through to the final on the account of having topped their group B. Sri Lanka had finished second behind England in group A.
“Of course, the teams know each other so well that we can save those extra 10-15 minutes strategising in team meetings.
“We play each other a lot in the IPL and understand him better. He reverses the ball very well in the sub-continent but we are okay with him. He always remains a dangerous bowler,” said Dhoni.
Dhoni also lauded the support staff for India`s success.
Asked if there was any area he would like his team to strengthen up, Dhoni said: “We’ll have to see what strength we are really looking for against a particular opposition.
“Ishant is someone who gets a decent amount of bounce, who is tall and can have a big impact, especially in the middle overs once the ball gets slightly old. I think on and off each and every one will have a few games where they’ll go for runs.”
“Umesh had a bad game, then Ishant had a bad game. So I think it’s important to keep backing the guys and also the fact that they learn a lot out of these games.”
The two teams met in the 2011 World Cup final, but since then they have undergone several changes.A
“Even if both the teams were the same, there have been a significant amount of changes that have been made to the format, quite a few rules and regulations. So I don’t think we can really count on all those stats. So I think it’s very different.
“I think Sri Lanka, they are a really good squad. They are going through a phase where they are missing some of their players. So I think it’s important for both the teams to do well, and I think they’re a very good team,” he said.