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Chennai Super Kings skipper says keeping calm helps one’s game
By IPL Staff
Chennai 04 April 2012
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is back in Chennai looking to defend the IPL title for the second straight time. As the Chennai Super Kings kickstart DLF IPL 2012 with a match against the mighty Mumbai Indians, the pressure will be huge and the stakes high. Dhoni, however, was characteristically calm in his pre-match media interaction.
“We don’t take too much of pressure. We take pride in our performance in fulfilling our roles and responsibilities. The team has gelled well over the last four years and that is our strength. Here it is always about us rather than individuals,” he assured.
Known for his icy cool demeanour under intense pressure, Dhoni believes keeping emotions in check helps one take better decisions in crunch situations.
“I don’t hide pressure but I just let if off when there is no one around. I express it all alone. I don’t think you should be frustrated in the field. It helps to be calm and cool. It is only when you are in this frame of mind that you are able to think calmly; [it] gives you the [chance] to plan some tactics,” he said.
The CSK captain refused to pick favourites in the tournament, saying all nine teams would be a force to reckon with.“All teams are strong. After this year’s auction, all teams have chosen players that will strengthen their team. But I still feel what is most important is how you play on a particular day; that decides your fate.”
For a team with an excellent record on their home ground, CSK struggled to come to terms with the newly laid Chepauk track at CLT20 2011. Was that a worry for the skipper? “I don’t think about any result. The pitch at the Chepauk is a new wicket. It’s new for us and for visiting teams. But I am confident of a good showing. We have players who will be good for these conditions. Home games are important and we will try to win as many [of these] games as possible. We need to adapt according to the changes.”
Dhoni also spoke about CSK’s USD 2 million buy, Ravindra Jadeja. “[He’s] a good pick for us. Not only is he a good bowler and batsman, he’s also a great fielder. He gives some more bowling options [to the team]. Now we can actually go in for a game with seven to eight batsmen.”
The 2012 IPL Opening Nite left the city of Chennai spellbound. At the YMCA ground, an array of glittering stars set the stage on fire and the nine captains pledged their adherence to the Spirit of Cricket. In what was a significant part of the event, BCCI president N Srinivasan announced that a part of the proceedings from this season of IPL will be distributed among various former Indian players who played first-class cricket.
"We have not forgotten who played for us. The BCCI will give a one-time opportunity to cricketers who have graced Indian cricket--international cricketer as well as domestic cricketers who played from a long time. Over 185 players will be benefited from it and we will start the distribution from this year. It is a small ‘thank you’ from us to those who have done yeoman service to Indian cricket," said the president.
Earlier, the night kicked off with Amitabh Bachchan reciting the poem written by Prasoon Joshi especially for the IPL. The Bollywood megastar captivated the audience with the emotion and weight in his voice.
South African percussion band First Project, composer DJ Ravi Drums and Colonial Cousins were the next to grace the stage with a fusion of drum beat and melody. Priyanka Chopra then sizzled with her action-packed performance before giving way to Chennai’s dancing superstar Prabhu Deva.
Priyanka returned on the stage, this time along with the Chennai Super Kings team, who were honoured as the defending champions. She asked some light-hearted questions to skipper MS Dhoni and made Doug Bollinger and R Ashwin dance with her. Next in line was Kareena Kapoor, who set the audience’s pulse racing with her performance on hit song ‘Chammak Challo.’
The captains of the nine IPL teams then gathered on the stage to sign the MCC Spirit of Cricket pledge. Dhoni placed the running trophy on the podium as the captains were joined by BCCI President N Srinivasan and IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla.
Mr. Srinivasan thanked the players for making the IPL a grand success. "IPL has grown from strength to strength and has established itself as a premiere tournament. BCCI is extremely proud of this achievement. But who is the cause, first the commitment of the players both international and domestic, who participated in the event, the enthusiasm of the franchises and assistance of the supporting staff and the cricket fans in India and around the world have contributed to its great success. We expect IPL 5 to be no less.”
Mr. Shukla flagged off the 2012 edition of the league saying, "It gives me a great pleasure to flag off the fifth edition of the DLF Indian Premier League, an arena where quality international and domestic cricketers take part in intense contest of strategy and skill. IPL is a platform where talent meets opportunity."
The night got back to its entertaining best as Bollywood hunk Salman Khan took the stage. He got the crowd into the groove with dance numbers like ‘Dhinka Chika’.
The evening came to an end with the biggest attraction of the event, Katy Perry. The international pop star enthralled the Chennai crowd with her sultry, feet-tapping performance as she danced to her super hit songs like 'Fireworks' and 'California Girls’.
A streak of fireworks marked the end of the ceremony and the start of a yet another dazzling season of DLF IPL.