For India, winning is of utmost importance: MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni has said that defending a low score and beating England in the final of the ICC Champions Trophy 2013 was special © Getty Images

Birmingham, Jun 24, 2013

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni preferred to remain grounded on Sunday despite being the only captain to have lifted three ICC titles — the 2007 World Twenty20, the 2011 World Cup and the 2013 Champions Trophy.

“I never turn up on the field to achieve something as a captain. For me, winning the game is very important, and that is of utmost importance for us as a team,” said Dhoni after a nerve-wracking win over England in a rain-marred final that was reduced to a 20-overs a side contest.

Dhoni drew similarities between the 2007 World Twenty20 and the 2013 Champions Trophy side, saying both the teams had quite a few players who were making their comeback and were desperate to make their mark.

“I feel the first ICC World Cup in 2007 that we won, and this tournament that we have won, there is a bit of similarity. There also there were quite a few — quite a number of players who were making their comebacks into the team, so they wanted to do well desperately and be part of the team. The thing that is the case in this team also, there are a few who wanted to do well and have a secondary position on the side,” said Dhoni [sic].

Asked if there was any pleasure in beating England after having been humiliated by them in the 2011 series, Dhoni said: “No, opposition is just opposition for us. It doesn’t really matter if we had beaten England in the final or some of the other sides, you know, because if you start looking at the opposition and particular teams, you want to win a game, then you may find it difficult. But it’s the same. It doesn’t matter who we have beaten, but the thing is we have beaten them quite well.”

Dhoni was disappointed that a Champions Trophy final was decided in a 20-over match.

“I think it’s a bit unfair that in the ICC Champions Trophy 50-over format we had to play a 20-over game to find a winner. But still, I think they needed the result,” he said.

Asked how he motivated his boys, Dhoni said: “Before going in, I said let’s first of all get rid of the feeling that it’s a 50-over game. It’s a 20-over game, and we have seen in IPL and in T20 formats, 130 runs can be a difficult target to achieve. Secondly, nobody looks to the left of the pavilion. That’s the side that the rain was coming from. So, I said God is not coming to save us. If you want to win this trophy, we’ll have to fight it out.”

Dhoni said that beating England while defending a modest total of 129 was a special feeling.

“It means a lot because you’re playing against some of the best sides, and also the kind of match that we had won. To beat England in a 130-odd runs game is something that’s very difficult,” he said.

Dhoni was all praise for Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja.

“I’m glad that all three of them accepted the responsibility that was given. They took it as a challenge. That’s why as far as Rohit is concerned, we all know how talented he is. He’s proven — he’s batted really well in difficult conditions. And at times people said winning the toss was very important. The second, by the time we went in to bat, the wicket had eased out a bit. But in reality, you know, they batted so well that it seemed that not much was happening.”

“But I think we need to give credit to them. At times in India, we have seen we just give the credit to the opposition. But I think they batted really well, both Shikhar Dhawan and Rohit Sharma to give us that good start that was needed,” he said.