Melbourne: Back at the helm after retiring from Tests, India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on Thursday said his team will look for an encore when they start their title defense at the World Cup beginning next month.
“We would definitely like to repeat our performance from 2011. But the change in conditions will be a factor and we will have to play accordingly,” Dhoni said at the launch of the team’s new ODI kit designed by team-sponsor Nike for the upcoming season.
“The Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of the best venues in world cricket, irrespective of the format. We will aim to do better than we have done in ODI format over the last couple of years and hopefully we will be back to play the World Cup final on March 29,” he added.
The bugle for the ODI season in Australia has been sounded as for the next two-plus months, fifty-over cricket will take precedence over anything else, starting with the tri-series, involving India and England, followed by the 2015 World Cup.
India’s first tri-series match is on Sunday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground against Australia, while Dhoni’s men will start their World Cup campaign on February 15 in Adelaide when they take on arch-rivals Pakistan in their first Pool B encounter.
Dhoni, who had shocked the world with his sudden retirement from the longer version of the game after the drawn third Test at the MCG, was back at the helm of the ODI team.
“I am rested,” he said with his trademark grin, after Virat Kohli had captained India in the drawn fourth Test.
“Irrespective of what sport you play, it is always a blessing to represent India on the international stage. Cricket is a little tougher back home and only a few people get to wear these colours. So it is good to be here and donning this jersey again,” he added.
Kohli, who has been in ominous form in the recent Test series against Australia, said he is looking forward to a good outing at the tri-series and World Cup. “The mindset doesn’t change whether we are playing in whites or blue. Every game is important for me when I am representing the country,” said Kohli.
“I have enjoyed the challenge of playing in Australian conditions and have enjoyed the response from the crowds as well. It was a good Test series for us. Now I am eagerly looking forward to the tri-series and then the World Cup.
“Back to back World Cup wins will be a nice milestone for this young team. It will do nicely for the new colours that have been unveiled today. That’s what we are aiming for as a team, that’s what we want to achieve and we have the vision for it,” he added.
The Indian team reached here yesterday and after enjoying a five-day rest post the Test series, the players were back in training. The day was used in limbering up and getting some fielding drills after which the customary game of football ensued.
While all other players selected for the tri-series and the World Cup have joined the squad, Ravindra Jadeja too is here. He didn’t field as such but did bowl gingerly, testing his shoulder. But it is too early to predict his estimated time of full recovery.