Birmingham: With just 129 runs to play within the rain-curtailed final of the ICC Champions Trophy against England here, India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni spurred his teammates by telling them to play like world champions and defend a sub-par score.
“Before going in I said, let’s first of all get rid of the feeling that it’s a 50-over game. It’s a 20-over game, and we have seen in IPL and in T20 formats, 130 runs can be a difficult target to achieve,” Dhoni said.
“I told them not to look at the sky or the opposition. I told them that God helps those who help themselves. I said God is not coming to save us. If you want to win this trophy, we’ll have to fight it out,” he said while addressing the media in the post-match press conference in Birmingham on Sunday night.
“We are the number-one ranked ODI side, so let’s make sure that they have to fight for these 130-odd runs. Don’t look for any outside help.”
India defended a modest score of 129 to outwit England by five runs in a thrilling final of the ICC Champions Trophy at Edgbaston in a rain-hit match that was ultimately decided by a T20 game.
“It is unfair to call it the final of the Champions Trophy. When the final of a 50-over game is decided by a T20 game, then some shine is lost but this win means a lot. We played against the best teams in the world and to beat England in England is always good,” Dhoni said.
Dhoni singled out Man-of-the-Match Ravindra Jadeja for praise and the highest scorer of the tournament, Shikhar Dhawan.
“Jadeja is someone who keeps it very simple. He bowls a good line and lets the ball do the talking. The good part was he contributed with the bat, which I feel is very important because he’s someone who will have to bat at number seven,” the Indian captain said.
On Dhawan, Dhoni said: “He has taken forward his form in the Test series against Australia — Dhawan scored a century on debut — and after an injury, did well in the IPL. I am happy that he has contributed as an opener and that’s another good sign for us.
“He’ll gain a lot of confidence out of the innings that he has played, especially over here. And that will really help the team more often than not get off to a good start.”
Dhoni refused to criticise Rohit Sharma for failing to convert good starts into bigger scores.
“Rohit is talented and has proved himself. He’s proven he’s batted really well in difficult conditions,” said Dhoni.
On the personal front, Dhoni said he was lucky that India won the T20 World Cup, the 50-over World Cup and the Champions Trophy under his captaincy.
“I don’t turn up in the ground to achieve anything special as a captain. For me, winning the game is very important, and that is of utmost importance for us as a team,” he said.
The skipper also refused to think about defending the title in the 2015 World Cup to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
“Well, it’s very difficult to answer as of now. People, especially players, get injured very often. Most of these players, they end up going into the 2015 World Cup, but it’s too far ahead. We’ll have plenty of tournaments before that and plenty of important series, ICC event, Asia Cup and all of those series. So I don’t think we’re looking too much ahead,” Dhoni said.
“We’ve got a series against West Indies where we’re going from here, and then Zimbabwe and after that we have some fair time off also to get going, recharge ourselves so we can avoid injuries,” he added.