Thursday, February 10, 2011

India must ignore Sachin and coach speculation

Speculation over the future of master batsman Sachin Tendulkar and coach Gary Kirsten are more distractions India will have to ignore if they are to lift the World Cup on home soil, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said on Thursday.

The Feb. 19-April 2 showpiece event represents, in all probability, Indian batting maestro Tendulkar's last World Cup, and it has hogged a major share of the limelight in the build-up to the event.

Local media reports have also claimed that India's highly successful South African coach Kirsten will not renew his contract at the end of the tournament for personal reasons.

"The feeling is the same (in the team). What is important for the team is to concentrate more on the process and the preparation rather than think about all the other things," Dhoni told reporters.

"There are plenty of issues that always surround the Indian cricket team. We are quite good at distracting ourselves from all the issues.

"But the fact remains that it will be the last World Cup for Sachin and most likely it will be the last tournament for Gary Kirsten as India's coach."

The wicket-keeper batsman rued the absence of paceman Praveen Kumar due to injury and said India will miss the "street-smart" cricketer.

"It is unfortunate that Praveen had to miss the World Cup. He has featured consistently in the ODI format for us," Dhoni said.

"He has done very well for us in all formats. We will miss him. He has been a street-smart cricketer for us.

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