Sachin Tendulkar retirement: Frenzy around farewell series not a distraction, says MS Dhoni

MS Dhoni said that the team is focused on winning the series even as the entire nation’s eyes are rooted on Sachin Tendulkar (above) in his final Test series © lIANS

Kolkata: Nov 5, 2013

India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said the team was trying to focus on the cricket despite the frenzy around Sachin Tendulkar‘s 199th Test match in his farewell series against the West Indies starting in Kolkata on Wednesday.

He said the team was trying to keep distractions to minimum.

“It’s something that was expected. It’s always good to know such things in advance so that you can mentally prepare well. We have tried best to keep ourselves away from distractions and focus on cricket. So far so good. Once the game starts, I don’t think the team is entertaining anyone. I think we are sorted,” Dhoni told reporters at the pre-match press conference.

Dhoni said nothing has changed, neither the preparation nor the mind-set, ever since the senior-most cricketer announced his retirement from the international arena.

“As far as the last few days are concerned, it looked absolutely normal how we played the ODI series or the last series. The dressing room atmosphere is exactly the same. In a way, the guys have done well to maintain the atmosphere.

“The focus has been brilliant so far. As far as the team is concerned, not thinking anything apart from cricket.

There’re certain things that has to happen and will happen. You noticed something that’s been going for about last 10 years. Now that Sachin has announced his retirement, you’re noticing it more,” he said.

The skipper said they’re just committed to win the series against the Caribbeans and then decide on dedicating it to Tendulkar.

“First and foremost, we need to focus on cricket and look to win the series. Once we have won the series, it’s always easier whom you want to dedicate it to. It’s always easy to do that,” he said.

Dhoni said Tendulkar has always tried to reach out to youngsters and guide them.

“He’s always been someone who interacts with youngsters and guides them on what needs to be done and the areas of improvement. I don’t think any significant change now,” he said of Tendulkar’s discussion with youngsters at the nets today.

Refusing to divulge their plans about the team’s farewell gift to Tendulkar, Dhoni said: “We’re keeping it a secret. Still one more Test to go after this.”

It’s been a hectic week for Team India, beating Australia 3-2 in a high-scoring seven-match ODI series last week.

Asked about the shift from the slam-bang version to Test cricket, Dhoni said: “We play a lot of cricket [these days], at times we have to adjust. Yes, there’s another demand that comes from the format from ODIs to Test. It’s not something we’re doing it for the first time. Hopefully most of the guys are aware of it and prepare for it.”

Dhoni also chose not to comment on the behaviour of the Eden pitch.

“We will see the wicket again tomorrow [Wednesday]. They have watered it. Let it become dry completely to assess it. As of now I’ll not comment anything on the wicket.”

Curator Prabir Mukherjee drew a flak from Dhoni the last time around but the skipper laughed it off saying: “We’ve not dated as of now!”

Sachin Tendulkar Retirement