India v Pakistan, World T20, Group 2, Dhaka

Intensity, but not acrimony - Dhoni

Abhishek Purohit in Dhaka

March 20, 2014

Comments: 41 | Text size: A | A
'India-Pakistan rivalry has mellowed down' - Dhoni

India and Pakistan will kick off the Super 10 stage of the World T20 on Friday with a night game in Mirpur. Less than three weeks ago, at the same ground, they produced a thriller in the Asia Cup, a game that was decided by Shahid Afridi's successive sixes in the last over with last man Junaid Khan for company. MS Dhoni said the two sides continued to give their fans spirited contests but felt that the acrimony of the past, which he had seen while growing up, had gone down in recent years.

"The intensity is there of course. It is something that you cannot really take away from the game irrespective of which opposition you are playing," Dhoni said. "India-Pakistan matches always capture the imagination of people from either side. I feel it has mellowed down to some extent, whatever the reason maybe, you do not see many altercations on the field. But still you see very competitive cricket which I feel is very important.


Ajinkya Rahane walks back for 23, India v Pakistan, Asia Cup, Mirpur, March 2, 2014
'You do not see many altercations on the field. But still you see very competitive cricket which I feel is very important' © AFP
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"Growing up, I used to watch some of the last-generation people when they were playing cricket, it used to get quite tense. There were plenty of things happening apart from cricket on the field. We used to enjoy it as kids. I am glad that it doesn't really happen anymore because when you talk about promoting cricket and promoting in the right ways, I think more often than not it is played in the right spirit."

India have never lost to Pakistan in a World Cup or World T20, but Dhoni did not believe that would have any bearing on Friday's encounter. "A lot of people talk about it but what is important is what kind of cricket you are playing on that particular day. All the teams that are participating, they have got a fantastic side. What this format does is, the difference between the best sides and the not-so-good sides is very narrow. Even the [teams] who qualify, you see they have also got the talent to upset some of the big sides, which means we have to play good cricket and that is what it is all about. It is not really about the stats or what you have achieved in the past."

Dhoni also did not want India to focus too much on the Pakistan players individually, but on the opposition side as a whole. However, he praised the skills of Umar Gul and Saeed Ajmal. "If you see Gul he has been a fantastic bowler for them. I still remember the 2007 World T20. He was someone who would start bowling from the 11th-12th over and continue till the death overs. So he has been someone who has been very consistent for them. It is not only him, there are other bowlers also who are quite dangerous.

"Ajmal is a very good bowler. It is not as if he is dangerous against one particular nation. I think overall he is still a bowler against whom you cannot score freely. And the way Pakistan use him, they make sure you try to go for runs against him if he bowls in the slog overs or in the first six overs... He is still dangerous not only against us but if you see all the international teams, they have had difficulty on an average in scoring freely against him.

"At the same time, they have got a batting line-up which has scored very freely. We will be planning about the whole team, not about the individuals."

When asked about the presence of allrounders in the Pakistan side, such as Hafeez and Afridi, Dhoni said some teams were "blessed" to have players with dual skills. "The more allrounders you have, the more difficult it becomes for the opposition. The reason being, if you have players who can bat and bowl, and if they are proper allrounders - they may be spinning or fast-bowling allrounders - they add to the strength of the team. You have the option of playing with more than five bowlers if you want to, and still have the same batting and bowling strength. It always adds on. I feel some of the sides are blessed when it comes to having allrounders."

Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by vkumar_086 on (March 21, 2014, 15:06 GMT)

@Sundar Rangan....as i already told, Afridi will play such innings once in a blue moon....he out for merely 8 runs....India was missing Dhoni's tactics in Asia cup...now he is a fresh guy to face any other team...see India's death bowling tremendously improved....India is well ahead right at the moment.....131 is par below score (less than 8 runs which they score in previous T20 world cup against India) for Indian batting line up....Pak is always under pressure when they play against India in world cups....a psychological edge, and India benefited from that

Posted by vkumar_086 on (March 21, 2014, 14:52 GMT)

@Sundar Rangan....as i already told, Afridi will play such innings once in a blue moon....he out for merely 8 runs....India was missing Dhoni's tactics in Asia cup...now he is a fresh guy to face any other team...see India's death bowling tremendously improved....India is well ahead right at the moment.....131 is par below score (less than 8 runs which they score in previous T20 world cup against India) for Indian batting line up....Pak is always under pressure when they play against India in world cups....a psychological edge, and India benefited from that

Posted by vkumar_086 on (March 21, 2014, 13:38 GMT)

@Sundar Rangan...Afridi plays such innings once in a blue moon...and one or two times in a year...and this year, he already played two such innings, so there will be no fear for India bowlers....moreover we got Dhoni, Raina, Yuvi back in team...we have not defeated in world cups against Pak (8-0), the best record in world cup and no other team has such record against any other teams....so obviously India has an edge over Pakistan....but i wish both teams ATB...

Posted by Saj_80 on (March 21, 2014, 12:49 GMT)

Its funny how much we talk about skills of individuals when it comes to pak vs ind game. However, i think the biggest difference in Indian team of today compare to india of 80/90s is their mentality (credited partly to Ganguly and mainly to Dhoni). I think the match will be decided on how 2 captains will excute their plan. Hence, Dhoni has an edge over Hafeez. Unless pakistan bats first a setup a huge target, india should be considered favorites just because they got dhoni to execute his killer plan (with calmness).. I am a pakistani fan btw..:)

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 9:37 GMT)

I hope Indian bowlers learn to forget Afridi's last over assault on Ashwin in the Asia Cup match. If they don't quickly forget that, they will be playing with a nervousness seen only during the nineties in Azharuddin era.

Posted by Andy83 on (March 21, 2014, 7:53 GMT)

I will have the following comments posted by a fellow member closely evaluated right after the match. Club bowlers haa? Pakistani bowlers are best in the business , indian fast bowlers are just like club bowlers in Pakistan ... Pakistan is favorite for today's match

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 7:41 GMT)

I always regard Dhoni for his balanced views about his opponents. More importantly he is much focused on his job rather than depending on speculations. As a Pakistani, I give Dhoni full marks for his valuable contribution to the success of India in every big tournament.

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 7:03 GMT)

Pakistani bowlers are best in the business , indian fast bowlers are just like club bowlers in Pakistan ... Pakistan is favorite for today's match

Posted by vkumar_086 on (March 21, 2014, 6:57 GMT)

@Khurram S Chaudhry....im observing your comments since from Asia cup....till now i have not seen any rash comments from you (even when Pak is defeated)....this shows the respect and love that you have towards cricket...today still cricket is considered as gentlemen game, its because of fans like you.....may god bless you dear from an Indian fan

Posted by arif1048 on (March 21, 2014, 6:31 GMT)

i am pakistani but i like MS DHONI because of his mature statements and behavior against any team of the world .He is very good sportsman and has all qualities one should have. whatsoever dhoni says is related to the fact and condition. As far as pak vs ind match is concerned pak has little bit advantage of playing most of the t20 matches and semifinals whereas india not beaten by pakistan ever in wordcup/T20. As Dhoni said pressure always remains on either sides once pak vs ind match is played in any format.Reality is this that one who performs on the ground will get the test of winning.

Posted by azhar_hassan on (March 21, 2014, 6:23 GMT)

Good to see the comments from Dhoni before the match - full on competitive and intense yes, but hold off on the acrimony and personal comments. Hoping for a good game and the right Pakistan team performance on the day!!

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 5:38 GMT)

Ravindra Jadeja, YV, Kohli, Raina, Dhoni, Ashwin Vs. Ajmal, Afridi(as bowler), Gull, Umer Akmal, Hafeez, Shahzad

Will be good to see... I wish There would be more Ind Vs Pak games... Lets hope the Ind vs Pak final,,,,,

Posted by AtulMore on (March 21, 2014, 4:54 GMT)

I like Dhoni's attitude: "Growing up, I used to watch some of the last-generation people when they were playing cricket, it used to get quite tense. There were plenty of things happening apart from cricket on the field. We used to enjoy it as kids. I am glad that it doesn't really happen anymore because when you talk about promoting cricket and promoting in the right ways, I think more often than not it is played in the right spirit."

Posted by DontMessWithZohan on (March 21, 2014, 4:43 GMT)

It is sad that IND, PAK, AUS and WI are in a same pool. All these teams are big favorites for winning the trophy. Many, including myself, would love to see these 4 teams in the semi-finals. The only other team of interest would be SA.

I think this is where SL and NZ are lucky. One of them (or both) are most likely to reach the semis and one of them shall reach the finals making the finals boring! These two teams are so consistent in reaching the semis and knocking out people's favorite teams.

Posted by sramesh_74 on (March 21, 2014, 4:26 GMT)

If Dhoni understands the value allrounders add to the balance of the team, why doesn't he give poor Stuart Binny a chance???

Posted by ProdigyA on (March 21, 2014, 4:23 GMT)

Dhoni is just amazing. The way he handles the press and never hesitates to praise the opposition. He said some nice things about ajmal and gul though gul has not been in form and has been in and out of the team. Wish the opposition had the same heart has Dhoni. Way to go champ.

Posted by munna_indian on (March 21, 2014, 4:19 GMT)

in a major tournament like this, both ind and pak reserves their best in this match alone and thereby lose their steam in further matches. i guess neither ind nor pak is going to win this tournament if they are in such mindset. good luck to both the teams in today's match. from an indian fan.

Posted by HealthyCric on (March 21, 2014, 3:51 GMT)

Pakistan team good at doing unexpected especially when you corner them but having said that if the players listen to Dhoni'e comments they might loosen up and show their other side of game.

I don't know about Pakistan but in India people are not bothering much when India looses against Pakistan some reason(good thing)

202/20 can change in few balls and I think those few balls are going in India's favour today :)

Just watch and have fun, if any body is taking 20/20 seriously then I pity them.

Posted by gannyboy on (March 21, 2014, 2:35 GMT)

People comparing Dhoni and Kohli need to understand that these two are very different personality. I dont think I need to say much about Dhoni but Kohli is someone who you would love when he is playing for your team and someone who you would hate to the core if he is playing for the opposition. I know it because of the IPL experience. But according to me it is his aggression that makes Kohli the player he is today. If Kohli stays there till the 16th or the 17th over India wins today.

Posted by   on (March 21, 2014, 1:00 GMT)

We have to look for two solid openers. ASAP.

Meanwhile, at least for this tourney, chose any two of the following three: Rahane (with better technique,IPL experience & willingness to rotate), Ashwin (better technique, good defense & previous opening experience in 1st class cricket) , and Kohli (anyway, he effectively opens in many matches, as Dravid used to do wen the 1st wicket falls too early).

But, Dhoni & uncle Duncan have the flexible mind-set to do it? That is a $3 million dollor (better than the highest ever bid in IPL) question?

Posted by parvinder7 on (March 20, 2014, 23:00 GMT)

before you pakisani fans say you will punch our player in the face, try and read the facts kohli was saying. Pakistan dnt chase anything above 250 except asian teams. Misbah knew if he batted first in the asia cup he would of lost. And for kohli he should of realised india has the most useless bowlers in the world today. Pakistani fans How would you like it if i said i would like to punch afridi in the face because he has said much but except for the 2009 final he has done nothing. Thats who you should punch in the face. Our matches are the most anticipated in the world. I the true indian fan.

Posted by Jagger on (March 20, 2014, 21:53 GMT)

Australia value-add with Faulkner, Haddin, Maxwell, & Watson in the side. They provide variety and are the barometer of team success.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 19:05 GMT)

An India v Pakistan match never fails to give fans the thrills and chills! Key players in my opinion will be Kohli, Raina and MS while Shami and Kumar's economic bowling will be a huge boost for India! As for Pakistan, Saeed Ajmal and Afridi are the trump cards!

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 19:05 GMT)

An India v Pakistan match never fails to give fans the thrills and chills! Key players in my opinion will be Kohli, Raina and MS while Shami and Kumar's economic bowling will be a huge boost for India! As for Pakistan, Saeed Ajmal and Afridi are the trump cards!

Posted by vkumar_086 on (March 20, 2014, 18:41 GMT)

Dhoni is nice gentleman....his speech and behaviour shows how good he is....his planning and tactics made him as one of the most successful captains of the world.....other captains should learn a lot from him....if he is saying like "the undefeat of India in major events against pak is not bearing anything on tomorrow's match"....that means im sensing India is going to maintain that record tomorrow also.....unable to wait till tomorrow evening for this high profile match....best of luck India

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 18:35 GMT)

A magnanimous heart MS has. Thats why he will always be loved by cricket lovers across the border and anywhere. Kohli no matter how great a batsmen he is will remain MS dust of feet in terms of international respect and fan-following till he mends his peevish attitude.

Posted by vkumar_086 on (March 20, 2014, 18:24 GMT)

Dhoni is nice gentleman....his speech and behaviour shows how good he is....his planning and tactics made him as one of the most successful captains of the world.....other captains should learn a lot from him....if he is saying like "the undefeat of India in major events against pak is not bearing anything on tomorrow's match"....that means im sensing India is going to maintain that record tomorrow also.....unable to wait till tomorrow evening for this high profile match....best of luck India

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (March 20, 2014, 18:04 GMT)

India are a better team than Pakistan in terms of experience and batting match winners. However, in T20 cricket, bowling is the most important department and this is where Pakistan shine. If Indian batsmen can keep the Pakistani bowlers quiet, India will win this. Otherwise, Pakistan have a good chance to beat India. Looking forward to the game tomorrow.

Posted by tanstell87 on (March 20, 2014, 17:57 GMT)

MS we also have all-rounders - Jadeja-Ashwin & Raina great all-round cricketers are these 3

Posted by Jimmyvida on (March 20, 2014, 17:47 GMT)

Just a wee bit of good batting here and there from Pakistan should ensure victory for them. For India to win, both Kohli and Dhoni must come not good, but great batting wise. The fielding, which is generally very poor, we'll settle for average, and their pacers coming good for a change. Ajmal, as usual will run through the lower order unless Kohli is still around to neutralize him. I expect a one sided match, though. Hope I am wrong.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 17:34 GMT)

I think India's World Cup record against Pakistan is in real trouble in this encounter

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 17:32 GMT)

difference between Kohli and Dhoni is ... Dhoni accepted and trying workout for dangerous Pakistani players while Kohli being arrogant and would have talk about weakness of Pakistan as we have seen in Asia Cup match like he said Pakistan is not good chaser etcc and Pakistan break their record of chasing over 245 scores against them and got a boost to xhase highest chase of 326 against bangladesh too ... come on yaar Kohli show some sportsmanship even I praise Dhoni and Kohli that they are best batsmen in the world beside being patriotic with Pakistan because reality is reality ... I love my whole team Pakistan and we will win InshALLAH ... :) lala will b a difference today :)

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 17:04 GMT)

Oh well.. I just hope it is a good game of cricket, not one sided affair... I am coming home early for a change and looking forward to a great game of cricket... If afridi starts bowling well than pakistan are in with a big chance.

Posted by JavedKhanAfridi on (March 20, 2014, 17:01 GMT)

Good to see captain MS Dhoni back. He is a man with bigger heart. In Asia cup India Pakistan ODI, i was surprised to see Virat Kohli punching air and making fists at Saeed Ajmal and Muhammad Hafeez right in their faces when the two were dismissed. You would never see this from MS. And a good statement by him also..Wish luck to both teams and victory to Pakistan.

Posted by thePakistanian on (March 20, 2014, 16:24 GMT)

Dhoni is just the opposite of Kohli; I'll still wanna fight Dhoni & Kohli on field, but off the field, I can have a drink with Dhoni & Punch in the face for Kohli! He's arrogant & self-obsessive! Not that it's bad, but when u lose 11 out of 12 games in a row across formats! No! Just admit that ur beaten by a better team!

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 16:00 GMT)

Love dhoni as pakistani fan. True sportsman.

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 15:59 GMT)

i think its us fans and media who create so much hype over this than the players. they will be playing and planning normal like other teams.

Posted by siddhartha87 on (March 20, 2014, 15:49 GMT)

gonna glue to television screen tomorrow.

Posted by PAKISTANIFIGHTER00 on (March 20, 2014, 15:19 GMT)

Honest comments, I'm pakistani but i like MS Dhoni then an other indian cricketer, becoz he is sensible and pure sportsman,He always talks good, He is captain cool

Posted by   on (March 20, 2014, 15:03 GMT)

Gonna be fun...let us have a repeat of asia cup and eventual damaged hearts.

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