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Dhoni urges India to stick to basics for Test
Jul 14, 2011
AFP
Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni says that if his side stick to the basics, preserving their number one Test ranking will take care of itself. Dhoni's team have topped the Test table for more than a year but could be knocked off their perch if England win the upcoming four-match series by two clear victories.
©AFP/File - Jewel Samad

TAUNTON, England (AFP) - India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni says that if his side stick to the basics, preserving their number one Test ranking will take care of itself.

Dhoni's team, also the 50-over world champions, have topped the ICC's Test table for more than a year but could be knocked off their perch if England, currently third, win the upcoming four-match series by two clear victories.

India, who completed a 1-0 win in a three-Test series away to the West Indies on Sunday, have just one warm-up match -- a three-day fixture against Somerset starting here on Friday -- before facing England at Lord's next week.

But a congested schedule and huge expectations are nothing new for World Cup-winning skipper Dhoni.

"It's not the rankings that are important to us. What is important is to play good cricket and enjoy the sport," he told reporters at Taunton on Thursday. "The rankings will take care of themselves."

The wicketkeeper-batsman, asked about the significance of the upcoming campaign, replied: "When you represent India and 1.2 billion have expectations from you, I think every series is important.

"We can't really take any side lightly. But it is important to still stick to the basics, not thinking too much about the opposition.

"England are a very good side. We'll have to be at our best, and try to do the small things right," he added, ahead of a match against Somerset that will see England captain Andrew Strauss 'guest' for the south-west county to get more time in the middle, even though the opening batsman represents Middlesex.

India will be coached by Duncan Fletcher, who held a similar position with England and guided Michael Vaughan's men to Ashes glory in 2005.

The former Zimbabwe all-rounder's time in charge of England ended after a lacklustre 2007 World Cup campaign in the Caribbean and he insisted he had little inside information that could benefit India.

"It's four years since then, and the team has changed quite a lot," said Fletcher. "There are a couple of senior players, but we will have to look at the tapes we've got (of the others).

"It's strange for me. I never thought I'd be back in this role.

"When I left England I thought I'd never get involved with cricket. But then I got the bug again."

 
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