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December 6, 2009
MS Dhoni is aware that India's freshly attained No. 1 ranking in Tests could be shortlived considering they are not scheduled to play any more Tests until October 2010 after a two-match series in Bangladesh in January.
India are slated to host New Zealand in October next year for a three-Test series according to the Future Tours Program (FTP), which has been widely criticised by some teams for the disparity in series distribution.
"It is a bit of a concern, as we play only two Test matches in the next six months, so it will be tough for us to maintain the position," Dhoni said after India beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 24 runs in Mumbai. India won the three-Test series 2-0 and jumped from No. 3 to No.1 on the Test ladder for first time since the rankings came into place in May 2001.
Dhoni said he would like to play more Test series but had no say in the matter. "I can't do anything about the schedule," he said. "It is good to play Test cricket, at the same time we are here to play whatever cricket we are asked to play."
For the moment, though, Dhoni preferred to savour India's second series win this year rather than brood about the paucity of future fixtures, which could help India occupy the top seat for longer. "We hardly get time for ourselves so getting time to complain would be impossible. We would rather celebrate the moment rather than think about what we should be doing next."
Dhoni gave special credit to coach Gary Kirsten, who he said had made things better after joining the team in late 2007. Stability was the other important factor behind India's success. "It was a constant process for us," Dhoni said. "One thing that was good was playing with the same team. It is a result of good preparation and execution over the last 18-20 months."
In the last two years Dhoni said India had been "concentrating on the short-term goals", an approach which helped players evolve simultaneously, and cited this series against Sri Lanka as an example. "Batsmen converted their starts into big hundreds. That is what really matters because, once you are set on a flat wicket, you want to make it big so that when your bowlers come in to bowl, they have ample time to get opposition out."
Sachin Tendulkar , India's longest-playing cricketer, said this series victory was a "special" moment in his career. "This is a reflection of what we have been able to achieve in the last 20 months or so. It is a special day for me and all the Indians. It is great to be sitting on the top."
Tendulkar said it was a dream come true for him to see India become the world's best Test team. "Absolutely, we have been waiting for this moment for a long time. The last 18-20 months have been very good for us. We have worked hard and Gary [Kirsten] has been very instrumental and along with the other support staff also."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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