MS Dhoni talked up India’s chances of defending the World Cup this week – but admitted it will be a much tougher task than the victory on home soil four years ago.
Speaking for the first time since announcing his retirement from Test cricket last month, the one-day skipper said another title would be a “great milestone for the men in blue”.
Dhoni and several team mates, including new Test captain Virat Kohli and Ajinka Rahane, were in Melbourne to unveil India’s new one day kit.
“It would be great to win the World Cup back-to-back. We have a plan in place and we have a vision,” Dhoni said. “We will be working hard over the next two months to fulfil that goal.
“In ODIs, India has been identified as ‘Men in Blue’ and it does inspire us to do better. That does not mean we do not give our best in Test matches. It is just we are a better team at the moment in the ODI format and hope to do better than what we have been doing for the last couple of years.”
Comparing the 2011 triumph to the challenge that awaits, Dhoni added: “The triumph at Wankhede four years ago was in familiar, home conditions. Here the conditions are very different.
“There are many factors that will determine who wins the World Cup. Most of the top teams are playing good cricket right now, so it will all depend on who plays better on a given day.”
India coach Duncan Fletcher, who will be leaving his position at the end of the event, also backed the team to be competitive, saying the team’s unbeaten run on the way to the Champions Trophy two years ago will hold them in good stead.
“I am very excited, especially given the side we have. I think we are a good chance to win after the way the team has been building over the last three to four years,” he said.
“A big reason for my belief is our Champions Trophy victory in England. We played in very foreign conditions that didn’t suit the side and yet we played so well that we didn’t lose a single match.”
“We have played three ICC tournaments in the last three years. We have only lost two games in all, of which one was the final. That is quite a record to be proud of.
“What makes this team special is that over the last few years they have faced all kinds of situations in the limited-overs cricket and have shown they are capable of coming out successful from all of them.”