Team India would not focus on individual Lankan players: Dhoni

Cardiff (United Kingdom), June 19 (ANI): Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Wednesday said Sri Lanka is a dangerous side, and hence his team would not focus on individual players.

"They are a dangerous side, hence we cannot focus on individual players. If you look at their top six or seven, they are good. But yes, the duo has done really well and will always pose a threat," he said, when asked whether Kumar Sangakara and Mahela Jayawardena would pose a threat to the men in blue.

Dhoni, who was addressing the media here, ahead of tomorrow's semi-final clash against Sri Lanka, also rubbished speculations that his side was not a favourite for the title as compared to Sri Lanka.

"First, I really don't know who has been saying this that there are no expectations from the Indian team. The media spurred this entire debate. We are here to play some good cricket, and we are working hard for that, because that is the only thing in our control," said Dhoni.

"Even if both the teams look somewhat similar, even then it is different, as the rules have changed. Hence, it would be immature to count on the stats. Sri-Lanka is a good team and they are going through a phase like us, where they are missing a few key players," he said.

Dhoni also made it clear that there was no surprise for tomorrow's game.

"If something that we have is surprising, we would be surprised ourselves more than the opposition. The change of rule hasn't shown its full colour. So, it's dicey," said Dhoni.

"But yes, if a team gets off to a good start and has wickets in hand then they can capitalize it in the last 15 overs. Most of the bowlers find it difficult with field restrictions, and some adjust better than the others," he added.

Dhoni also lauded Indian coach Duncan Fletcher, saying the latter is someone who knows the basics really well.

"When Duncan took charge it was a team, which had some of its big players, who were on the verge of leaving. So, it was tough. He would have felt the pressure. Now, I am sure he is loving the fact that the team is doing really well," he said.

India has defeated South Africa, West Indies and Pakistan in the tournament.

Sri Lanka, who finished second in Group-A, will face the reigning World Champions and Group-B toppers, India, in the second semi-final match in Cardiff tomorrow.

The Champions Trophy is the second biggest one-day tournament, played between all the Test playing nations.

Two groups with four teams each participate in a round-robin format in the first round with the top two teams from each group qualifying for the semi-final.

India is placed in group B, along with South Africa, arch-rival Pakistan and the West Indies.

Group A, on the other hand, consists of Australia with England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.

The final is slated to be played on June 23. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)


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