AGENCIES
Dubai, 14 February:
Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni today said India would aim to be the third side in history to clinch back-to-back World Cup titles by winning the tournament which would be held in Australia and New Zealand next year.
Dhoni said his side were doing fine and confident of emulating Australia and the West Indies to win consecutive World Cups.
“It is amazing to think that it is just one year before we defend our International Cricket Council World Cup title as that means it is almost three years since we won the trophy on that amazing night in Mumbai. The memories of that night and of the whole tournament are as fresh and as special as ever,” Dhoni was quoted as saying in an ICC statement to mark the beginning of the one-year count-down to the start of the competition.
“We know defending the World Cup is something that only the West Indies and Australia have done over the whole history of the tournament but with the quality we have in and around our squad we believe we can become the third side to do it,” he said.
The tournament will be held from 14 February to 29 March, with India opening their title defence against 1992 champions Pakistan in Adelaide on 15 February.
Dhoni, who hit the winning runs in Mumbai when India won the title in front of a full house in 2011, said his side had players who were capable of handling the pressure of a global event, and India’s victory in the Champions Trophy in
the UK last year proved that his team had the ability to excel outside their own territory.
“We have a group of players who are experienced in playing in high-pressure situations and we have already shown we are capable of dealing with the dual pressure of being world champions and coping with overseas conditions at a major ICC event by winning the Champions Trophy in the UK last year,” Dhoni added.
While India won their first title in 1983 under Kapil Dev, Clive Lloyd led the West Indies to titles in 1975 and 1979, and Steve Waugh (1999) and Ricky Ponting (2003 and 2007) were at the helm when Australia won the tournament in England, South Africa and the West Indies, respectively.
Dhoni, sixth in the rankings for One-Day Internationals batsmen, said the New Zealand tour had enabled his side to experience the conditions they would face during the World Cup 2015.
“Although we did not win our latest ODI series in New Zealand, it gave us valuable experience of what we can expect in 12 months’ time.
“The next year is now all about getting our plans in place and remaining confident and if we can do that we will be in a good place by the time the action starts next February.  I remember the joy that winning Cricket World Cup brought to all Indians all over the world in 2011 and we want to do the same again by playing to the best of our ability in 2015,” he said.
Australia captain Michael Clarke, who was just 11 years old when Australia last hosted the Cricket World Cup, in 1992, said he was thrilled the event was returning to his country.
“The World Cup is the pinnacle of one-day cricket and we’re thrilled that it’s going to be held in our own backyard,” said Clarke, whose side would lock horns with England on the opening day of the tournament in Melbourne.