World Cup will be our biggest gift to Tendulkar
New Delhi: As Sachin Tendulkar gears up to play probably his last World Cup, the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Indian cricket team is desparate to make it a special one for him by gifting the champion batsman the trophy which has eluded the side for 28 years.
In his two-decade long illustrious career, during which he has featured in five World Cups since 1992, Tendulkar has virtually every batting record under his belt but a world title is the only trophy which is missing from his cupboard.
And Dhoni said his team will do whatever it takes to make it a memorable tournament for Tendulkar, who is approaching 38.
"We all love him (Tendulkar) a lot. Most probably it is his last World Cup although we all want him to play many more World Cups. But practically speaking it seems impossible," Dhoni told reporters during a promotional event here.
"So, that (the World Cup trophy) can be the biggest gift from the team to him," he said.
"We believe in each others` talent and we have a very good team. The environment in the dressing room is very good.
And if we perform to our potential we have a very good chance of winning (the World Cup)," Dhoni added.
Dhoni termed the 2007 inaugural World Twenty20 title in South Africa as the biggest achivement of his captaincy career so far, but refused to make any predictions for the upcoming mega-event.
"It (World Twenty20 title) is the most memorable moment of my career since I made my debut in 2004 and it will always be there up in the league.
"But I don`t want to make any predictions for the (ODI) World Cup. I can only assure all that we will give our best.
We play one game at a time. So at present I am just thinking about the Bangladesh game (on February 19 in Dhaka)," he said.
Dhoni also hailed the format of this year`s World Cup and said it is a welcome change from the 2007 edition.
In this year`s World Cup, 14 teams are divided into two groups of seven from where top four from each group will qualify for the quarter-finals unlike the 2007 edition, where 16 teams first competed in a pool stage, then a "super 8" stage, followed by semi-finals and a final.
"It is a good format for us. It is a bit of relief from 2007. Here even if you lose a few games you have a chance to get into the quarter-finals," Dhoni said.
"But it will be about playing consistent cricket. Whoever plays consistent cricket in the tournament will get into the knockout stage," he added.
Four years ago in the West Indies, weighed down by the pressure of expectations, India crashed out of the World Cup at the preliminary stage but Dhoni insisted that the present outfit is well prepared to handle the burden in the upcoming event.
"Now we call pressure added responsibility. We know the expectation level is high but we are prepared for it because we knew for long that the World Cup will be held in India.
Expectations is something which is beyond our control," Dhoni said.
The Indian skipper was also satisfied with the 15 players he has got for the tournament.
"I am really happy with the squad. I know I am the lone wicket-keeper in the team but it is not a worrying factor. If anything major happens to me, we can always bring in the reserve wicket-keeper as it is happening in India. But one wicket-keeper gives us the liberty of having one more variation in the side," Dhoni said.
"We also have variety in our bowling department. We have not got express fast bowlers but we have got decent bowlers who are very skillful," he said.
Dhoni differed with England batsman Kevin Pietersen, who criticised the scheduling of the World Cup for having long gaps between matches.
"It is difficult to get a perfect schedule but I am quite happy with the schedule. Some of our players have got a few niggles and the gap will help them to recover," Dhoni said.
With the controversial Umpire Decision Review System (UDRS) to be implemented in the tournament from the last eight round, the Indian captain said the teams will have to do their homework on the subject.
"We have done our background check although we have not used it (UDRS). It`s not that every team will be pleased with the system at the end of the day but we need to do our homework right," Dhoni said.
Dhoni also expressed his disappointment at not playing at the Eden Gardens where the hosts were scheduled to take on England on February 27. The fixture has been shifted to Bangalore because of Eden`s unpreparedness.
"Playing in the Eden Gardens before one lakh people is always special. We will miss the passionate Kolkata crowd but it is out of our control," he said.