Cardiff: India captain MS Dhoni rated Sri Lanka as "a dangerous team" ahead of their ICC Champions Trophy semi-final here on Thursday, saying they were not just focussing on "a Mahela Jayawardene or a Kumar Sangakkara".
Thursday's semi-final will be the fifth meeting between India and Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom. Except for the shock defeat in the 1979 World Cup, India have easily won the remaining four. But Dhoni is taking nothing for granted.
"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 told reporters after a training session on Wednesday.
Dhoni said there was no pressure on the Indian team to win the championship. "It's the Indian media that creates all this hype (after the recent BCCI controversies back home) 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."
The Indian captain has been quite selective in dealing with the press during the Champions Trophy. Except mandatory ICC briefings, the BCCI's media policies have made Dhoni hard to get.
Rain could play spoilsport during the second semi-final at the Sophia Gardens here and if the match is washed out, India will go through to the final in Birmingham on June 23, having topped their group.
Equal on points, but due to an inferior run-rate, the Lankans finished at the second spot behind England in group A.
Dhoni said he was not thinking about a washout and the team was planning as it would normally do before every game. "Of course, the teams know each other so well that we can save those extra 10-15 minutes strategising in team meetings," he said tongue-in-cheek.
The Indian captain said his boys were not too wary about the dangerous Lasith Malinga. "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," Dhoni said.
He said India's success so far in the Champions Trophy, where they are unbeaten in five games including two warm-up games, was also due to some excellent work by the back-up team.
The skipper said the presence of Duncan Fletcher (coach), Trevor Penney (fielding coach) and Joe Dawes (bowling coach) have helped him concentrate on other team details.
More from this Section
May 20, 2015, 5:06 pm IST
May 20, 2015, 4:32 pm IST
May 20, 2015, 12:50 pm IST
May 20, 2015, 11:05 am IST