Dhoni credits team environment for success
The World T20 is increasingly shaping up like the Champions Trophy did as far as India are concerned. They had travelled to England in 2013 amid IPL controversy and won the ODI tournament with an unbeaten campaign. They have travelled to Bangladesh amid controversy again and have become the first side to qualify for the semi-finals, by winning three games out of three.
It is often India's Man of the Match who meets the press after a victory, but because of clamour from some sections of the media at home that MS Dhoni had been avoiding reporters, the captain walked in to take questions but answered only those related to the World T20. He declined to answer whether he had offered to resign as captain, as some reports had suggested.
Dhoni was asked how his side had managed to perform so well in both the Champions Trophy and the World T20 with such grave off-field issues in the background. The captain put it down to the environment within the squad.
"A good dressing-room atmosphere and having belief in yourself and enjoying each other's success," he said. "A lot of things happen around cricket but you have to be focused when you are representing your country. That is one thing that this team has done really well.
"And of course accepting the challenges, enjoying the challenges, trying to prove that you are one of the best when it comes to international cricketers. Once you are in as a batsman you want to take the team through, if you are bowling well on that particular day you want to take wickets for the team, if you are a part-timer the same things applies. It is all about the dressing-room atmosphere and we have kept it really nice."
India haven't had a good time in World T20s since winning the inaugural one in 2007, and this is the first time they have made the semis since that tournament. When asked if the team had talked about reaching this stage in the build-up, Dhoni said they had not thought about anything but had only come in with the knowledge that they would be playing in familiar conditions.
"We do not really discuss all that because one of the facts is you are supposed to play well. That is what the criteria is. If the consideration was just getting into the semi-finals, then what do you do once you reach the semi-finals? You should be happy and just stay there and say okay, we have reached the semi-finals, we don't really want to play it.
"I feel what we did was, we came in with nothing really in mind. Knew the conditions quite well. We play in the subcontinent quite a few games, especially the IPL, so we had the right kind of exposure. We knew the kind of problems we could face when it comes to bowling and batting and we had to work on that. So again we were concentrating on the process irrespective of what format we are playing. I feel it is always the process that is very important. Once you know the problem area, you can work on it and in a tournament like this it is very important you do not expose yourself, your weak link, to the opposition too much."
Abhishek Purohit is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo