Dhoni - Every game matters
Mahendra Singh Dhoni is confident India can cope with the lofty expectations of their fans and deliver against England.
Last Updated: 26/02/11 3:18pm
Mahendra Singh Dhoni insists India are not attaching any extra importance to their World Cup meeting with England in Bangalore on Sunday.
The India captain cannot remember a time when he and his team-mates were free of huge responsibility to deliver the hopes of a cricket-mad nation.
His opposite number Andrew Strauss suggested India's abundant collective skill might be compromised by the knowledge that more than a billion supporters will be anticipating victory from their heroes in the World Cup Group B match at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
But Dhoni has known nothing different throughout his seven-year international career, and knows he will be leading 10 others equally used to those circumstances.
"One thing about the Indian cricket team - it was 2004 when I made my debut - I have never played a series when we're not under pressure, whether it is the pressure of winning the game or of playing against strong opponent," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
"Most of the guys are used to it, especially since the IPL when you're playing for the franchise and under pressure to win games and qualify for the next stage."
He added: "For us each and every game is important.
"We prepare likewise for every game - Bangladesh, England, Australia, Ireland.
"It's an important game, but the preparation remains the same."
Dhoni also denies his team need to pay special attention to the mercurial batting talents of England's Kevin Pietersen.
Strauss believes every opposition team will be wary of Pietersen's match-winning potential, especially following his surprise move up to open the batting in this campaign.
But Dhoni said: "We have to prepare for their whole squad.
"They have a few players who can change the course of a game.
"But we have to prepare for everyone, not just one.
"When it comes to an international side, most of them are very talented."