Chennai: Having won back-to-back IPL titles, there is a chance for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his 'Men in Yellow' to complete a hat-trick but 'Captain Cool' doesn't want to think too far ahead considering it's a 54-day tournament. (Agencies)
"We don't think about result. It is a longish tournament close to 60 days. So targeting a result right from the start will be very difficult. Yes, there is pressure but a bit of it is always good. If one starts thinking too much about the result, the burden of expectation may not help a player perform upto his potential. So we are not thinking of the result. We will like to take one game at a time," Dhoni said on the eve of the opening match against Mumbai Indians.
A lot has happened since Dhoni won the World Cup followed by the IPL but he has been more on the losing side rather than being on the winning side.
"It always adds a bit of pressure but without pressure, it is difficult to perform at the top level. In a sport, we often forget one team has to lose. We had a streak where we were on the winning side. In the last seven to eight months, mostly in Test matches, we have been on the losing side. That's a phase. But, it gives us opportunity to improve as cricketers and get to the next level."
The 30-year-old said that words like "I, me or myself" doesn't exist in a team sport where everyone takes responsibility in fulfilling a common goal.
"As far as being defending champions is concerned, we never take it as pressure but pride in our performance. We take pride in fulfilling our responsibilities and in the last four years we have gelled well as a team including the new additions and I thought that is our strength. People fulfilling their roles and responsibilities."
Asked to comment about the nature of the Chepauk track, Dhoni stated that the wickets looked different from the last time that we played.
"It is a very different looking wicket than the last time when we played. It is as new to us as to the sides who would be visiting. We will see how it goes. We have got players in the side who can strengthen the side according to the conditions. We are fairly well-equipped for what ever strip we are provided," he said.
During last auctions, Ravindra Jadeja, who hasn't exactly set the stage on fire at the international level, was bought for a whopping USD 2 million and Dhoni justified the decision.
"He is someone who can bowl and bat and not to forget he is an exceptional fielder. He will really be help in our battling line-up. At the same time, we will have a few more options in bowling. We can play a combination, where we have eight or nine batsmen and yet we have close to six bowlers."
The India captain also sidestepped when asked about teams which can be possible threats.
"As far as the championship is concerned, I feel all the teams are very strong, especially after the recent auction what has happened. It has strengthened all the teams. The important thing is to perform on that particular day."
Like an astute leader, Dhoni didn't want to reveal what exactly are his side's weaknesses.
"When you play a team sport, you have your strength and weakness. It is just that we need to cover it off well, so that the opposition does not take too much of an advantage. I won't really like to say what our weaknesses are. But certainly as a team as any other side we have our own weaknesses."
Dhoni also wished Sachin Tendulkar luck and hoped that the champion batsman would enthrall his fans in Chennai.
He has never bared his emotions on field and would tell you that he is good at "masking pressure."
"I don't hide it. i just express it, when I am alone. There is enough place to express it. I think it is important not to look frustrated on the field. If you approach a bowler and if you are frustrated and irritated, it may reflect in the way of executing his plans. It is something that all of us try to do. But every individual every character is different."
For many, IPL is all about entertainment and Dhoni sees no harm as even cricketers according to him are entertainers.
"We are also here to entertain. Whatever the format may be, as cricketer you want a full house and what you try to do is to entertain them whatever they have paid for it should be worth that if it is they will come back. We are a part of the entertainment."
Dhoni feels that even though Sachin was a very good captain, even Harbhajan Singh's fighting instincts make him a good leader.
"Bhajji is a fighter. He is some one who loves challenges. He performs well both with the bat and ball. He is good as a skipper. He brings value to the side. It will be good for them. But please don't take it in the negative sense that I mean that when Sachin was there he was not good. Because there is a tendency to distort the statements."
On the drop in TRP ratings last year, Dhoni said that it will certainly improve this year as last one was a World Cup year.
"Last year, not to forget we had the 50-over World Cup in India it is like one of the most prized trophies. IPL is big but the World Cup is the biggest event. I think people would get back to watching IPL this season and TRP ratings will go up."
Dhoni's hairstyle has always been a topic of discussions and the skipper said that he is planning grow long hair although it won't be like flowing mane he had during the start of his career.
"Changes help. It was just that I decided to get bald. I thought it really helped me in the Chennai heat. I am growing it back not to the extent I had when I started off my career. But certainly I will have a bigger length in the next couple of months."
Questioned as to who is wittiest in the team, Dhoni said that their coach Stephen Fleming is good at cracking jokes with a straight face.
Chennai: Having won back-to-back IPL titles, there is a chance for Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his 'Men in Yellow' to complete a hat-trick but 'Captain Cool' doesn't want to think too far ahead considering it's a 54-day tournament.